Lobbyists meet NBN

Connect: Members of the RRRCC were hosted by nbn at its headquarters in North Sydney to discuss the path to better bush communications. Photo: Contributed.
Connect: Members of the RRRCC were hosted by nbn at its headquarters in North Sydney to discuss the path to better bush communications. Photo: Contributed.

A coalition formed to better champion telecommunication services in rural and regional Australia met the National Broadband Network (nbn) last week to discuss ways of improving broadband access in regional, rural and remote Australia.

The Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC) met with nbn members including chief executive Bill Morrow.

The meeting was instigated by nbn after almost 12 months of extensive RRRCC activity to raise awareness of the challenges bush consumers continue to face.

AgForce representative Georgie Somerset said it was valuable that Mr Morrow and his senior team have took the time to again meet directly with them and to discuss issues.

"As a coalition we continue to be frustrated about untapped economic potential due to poor regional telecommunications and broadband services,” she said.

Just a day before the coalition and nbn, Regional Communications Minister Fiona Nash announced that next month Sky Muster satellite users can receive 50 per cent more peak data and double their current off-peak data.

“People in rural and remote Australia asked us to break the data drought. Well the rain is about to start. I asked NBN to find a way and they have,” Ms Nash said.

“From early October, NBN will allow Sky Muster retailers to sell far more data to users – 50 per cent more data at peak times and double the data at off peak times.

“Even better, I met with Sky Muster retailers recently and they agreed to pass the extra data on at almost no extra cost,” she said.

Teresa Corbin, chief executuive of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), said one issue the coalition raised in the meeting included addressing the reliability of Sky Muster services, ensuring greater transparency for consumers and ensuring clearer communications to minimise confusion for Sky Muster customers.

“We understand that many of these issues and concerns cannot be addressed overnight, however, we believe there are solutions to many of the challenges our members face and we have agreed to work towards resolving these constructively,” she said.

Agforce and ACCAN are both members of the RRRCC, which has around 20 member organisations.