This year has seen regional Australians connected like never before thanks to the Liberal Nationals Government commitment to delivering reliable, modern and fast communications to every corner of the country.
Minister for Regional Services Senator Bridget McKenzie said 2018 had been a busy year for regional communications, with the National Broadband Network (NBN) nearing completion in regional areas, big improvements announced for the Sky Muster satellite service and hundreds of new mobile base stations delivered to improve coverage in black spot locations.
“We want to make sure regional Australians have the connectivity they need to stay in touch with family and friends, access world-class education and health services and do business on the global stage,” Minister McKenzie said.
“We have a strong track-record of investing in and improving connectivity in our regions. Providing improved and reliable telecommunication services to regional and remote Australians is a top priority, which is why we’re ensuring there is more Commonwealth investment going into regional communications than ever before.”
Delivering high-speed broadband in the regions
The Liberal and Nationals Government’s high-speed NBN is speeding towards completion with around 98% of regional homes, farms and businesses now able to connect or under construction.
More than half a million premises outside major urban areas have been activated on the NBN since the beginning of 2018.
There are now more than 1.8 million regional premises benefiting from the use of an NBN service, and thousands more are signing up every day.
In November, NBN Co announced big improvements to its Sky Muster services, which are vital for connecting people living in the most remote areas.
The new Sky Muster Plus product will provide unmetered data for daily tasks such as web browsing, email and software updates in 2019.
By 2022, the Liberal and Nationals Government will have invested more than $3.55 billion to provide fixed wireless services across rural and regional Australia and around $2 billion in NBN Co’s next-generation Sky Muster satellite service.
Improving regional mobile coverage
The first three rounds of the Liberal and Nationals Government’s highly successful $220 million Mobile Black Spot Program is nearing completion, with more than 655 new mobile base stations now live and on air, helping to keep people in regional and remote communities connected.
The application process for a fourth round of the program is now underway, with $25 million committed to deliver more coverage across Australia.
Vital health check on regional telecommunications
This year gave Australians living in regional areas a chance to have their say on telecommunications issues through the Regional Telecommunications Review.
More than 380 public submissions were received and 22 face-to-face consultations held across the country.
The report puts forward 10 recommendations for improving regional connectivity, which the Government will now carefully consider before responding in early 2019.
The Liberal and Nationals Government is committed to delivering fast and reliable communications for the whole of Australia and will keep working hard to improve connectivity nationwide.