Rural Victorians are being urged to have their say on mobile blackspots and broadband issues across the state.
The State Government recently announced a survey as part of its $550 million Connecting Victoria program, asking Victorians to help identify where mobile and broadband are most needed.
The Engage Victoria Connecting Victoria survey can be accessed at: https://engage.vic.gov.au/connecting-victoria
Rural Councils Victoria Chair Cr Mary-Ann Brown said:
“It is vital that Rural Victorians have their say. Good mobile and broadband coverage is vital for individuals, families, businesses and the work of emergency services across rural Victoria.”
“Without input from individual rural Victorians and rural communities there is a strong possibility that some of the communities worst affected won’t get the services they urgently need.
“Quality mobile phone connectivity, in particular, isn’t just about convenience – it’s essential for small businesses, emergency services and visitor economies to thrive.
“Broadband is essential for businesses, families and education.
“Far too many parts of rural Victoria still lack effective mobile phone access and broadband, cutting entire communities off from an essential service that most Victorians living in cities take for granted.
“Digital connectivity creates opportunities and decreases barriers to business, education, tourism and social interaction,” Cr Brown said.
“In an emergency this lack of mobile coverage can put lives at risk.”
Engage Victoria said:
The program will focus on getting more Victorians access to business-grade broadband and upgrading mobile coverage, improving 4G mobile coverage, helping more places become 5G ready, and improving access to safety information during bushfires and other emergencies.
The first locations to receive upgrades or new infrastructure are expected to be announced later this year, with more to follow across the state, Engage Victoria said.