Ensuring reliable connections in the bush
TELSTRA and the Federal Government have committed to improving the reliability of regional, rural and remote landline phone networks.
AgForce has welcomed the commitment made on Wednesday, March 13, to repair or replace the top 1000 worst performing landline cables.
AgForce general president Georgie Somerset said the Regional Telecommunications Review published late last year highlighted that telephone lines save lives in rural and regional communities.
"The recent North Queensland flood disaster highlighted that and proved that reliable landlines in the bush are critical,” she said.
"Farmers have long been frustrated about extended faults and repair times for landline services.”
Landlines are still the most reliable telecommunications option rural residents have and often if there is cloud cover their satellite internet drops out.
"There currently isn't any reliable voice alternative for Australians living in rural and remote communities, which is why our landlines also need to be independent of other technology,” Mrs Somerset said.
The AgForce policy was to have two separate connections to a property such as a landline and satellite internet connection, to maintain service reliability.
While AgForce has welcomed Telstra's initiative to repair and replace around 1000 telephone cables in the bush, Mrs Somerset said this should happen automatically under a Universal Service Obligation.
"We're happy with the announcement, but we're also calling for a strengthening of the USO to ensure that the landline network in rural and remote Australia is adequately serviced until alternative reliable voice options are available,” she said.
"It's disappointing to think that these works wouldn't be happening without government intervention.”
AgForce have also called for the government to support and implement all 10 recommendations of the Regional Telecommunications Review, which includes technology upgrades that focus on high value agricultural areas, including upgrades and repairs.