A new government survey shows that the State Government’s $550 million Connecting Victoria program won’t be enough to bring reliable and better broadband and mobile connectivity to areas across rural Victoria, the Chair of Rural Councils Victoria has said.
With overwhelming responses from rural and regional Victorians, Engage Victoria’s Connecting Victoria engagement report identified several common connectivity issues including:
Engage Victoria said it received more than 11,000 survey responses (41 per cent or 4510 from rural Victorians), conducted 13 roundtables and gathered more than 110 formal submissions.
Rural Councils Victoria Chair Cr Mary-Ann Brown said:
“Engage Victoria has done remarkable work with this consultation and drawn out the issues that rural Victorians have lived with for far too long.”
“Businesses don’t have the high-speed internet needed to sustain and grow a modern business, be it in the tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, or many other sectors.
“We need high-speed connectivity right across rural Victoria, not only to maintain and create jobs but for healthcare, education, tourism, a range of other sectors and especially for emergencies.”
“The sheer volume of responses, 41 per cent or 4510 of 11,000 from rural Victoria alone, provides overwhelming evidence of a vast state-wide need.
“It is not possible to fix all the broadband and mobile issues with the funds available in the State Government’s $550 million Connecting Victoria program on its own.”
“Rural Councils Victoria is calling for every town of 300 premises or more to have fixed line broadband access,” Cr Brown said.
“Both the state and federal governments need to step up.”
“No one in rural or regional Victoria should struggle to get a mobile phone signal or reliable internet access.”
“With thousands of people making new lives in rural and regional areas, now is the time to get the broadband and mobile services people need up to the high standard people deserve.”
“Telecommunications is a federal responsibility but services in rural and regional Victoria is so poor that the state government has stepped in.”