New research examines telecommunications affordability for First Nations households

This research examines trends in telecommunications affordability and access for First Nations households between 2006 and 2021. The analysis uses data on internet access and telecommunications spending from the Household Income, Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey and the Australian Census of Population and Housing.

This report contributes to the evidence base on digital inclusion for First Nations Australians. The report can be used to complement similar research from the Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) and the Mapping the Digital Gap Reports.

Key findings include:

  • Telecommunications affordability and access has improved for First Nations households since 2006.
  • The share of income that First Nations households spent on telecommunications decreased between 2006 and 2021. This was driven by income growth over the period, while telecommunications spending remained steady.
  • In the decade to 2021, the share of First Nations households with access to the internet at home has increased.

Improving the national collection and use of data on First Nations digital inclusion was recommended by the First Nations Digital Inclusion Advisory Group (FNDIAG) in its initial report. This BCARR report adds to the evidence base on digital inclusion for First Nations Australians, however, it cannot be used for formal measurement of progress towards Closing the Gap Target 17. The Government announced funding in the 2024-25 Budget to improve national data collection through the expansion of the ADII. This funding will provide $6 million over three years from 2024-25.

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