In July 2018 RDAWEP conducted a survey throughout the Eyre Peninsula to help inform a government review into regional telecommunications.
We received numerous responses from people eager to have their say on the services in the region. The popular sentiment across the Eyre Peninsula as to why people can’t increase their use of digital technologies is that a lack of reliable internet coverage and speed prevents them from doing so. Many of you expressed issues related to the functionality of the NBN, and with very few people aware of the Sky Muster Satellite service and others doubtful of its reliability, it appears the region views itself as somewhat disconnected.
The highest number of responses, as you can see in the table below, was from local businesses.
Many of these businesses, especially those in more rural areas, feel they are struggling to keep up in the age of technology without reliable and affordable internet services. A local Ceduna resident shared his view on the matter, explaining,
“We have to move with the times and keep up with our metropolitan clients. We need to replicate all the digital services that are offered by the businesses that originate in digital technological rich areas like capital cities both in Australia and Overseas or we will lose clients. The age of digital technology now means you don’t have to live in a Capital City to have a productive, profitable business. You can live regional and remote and deal on the world stage so long as we have a fast, reliable broadband internet service.”
Many respondents seem keen to embrace technology; they are just hoping to improve the services available. In fact, 63% of people surveyed believe they do have the skills to get the most from their digital technologies, while the other 37% often rely on YouTube tutorials or family, friends and colleagues to improve their skills. There were a few suggestions for TAFE courses or workshops on digital skills to provide hands on learning for those who aren’t confident in their abilities.
One apparent key trend is that many people are unhappy with the poor mobile coverage and black spots throughout the region. As you can see in the chart below, out of their fixed line network, the NBN and their mobile network, more than half of people identified their mobile network as their biggest problem.
According to many of the respondents, not only do mobile black spots impact people on a daily basis by obstructing their ability to make a phone call or send a text, the lack of coverage can be unsafe. Attention was called to the fact that if there is no coverage in remote areas then people may not be able to reach emergency services when they’re needed. When we asked how these issues could potentially be overcome, there was a resounding call for more towers.
Overall we received a good number of responses to the survey and we’d like to thank everyone who took the time to complete it. We will now be able to pass the information we received on to the government to help inform their regional telecommunications review.
Because mobile black spots have emerged as a prominent issue facing Eyre Peninsula residents, we want to learn more about the problem. If you can help us pinpoint the locations of the black spots in the region, we can determine where more towers need to be built. With that information, we can then lobby the government and mobile phone service providers and let them know what we need. Our goal is to see 20 more towers built in the region in the next 18 months, but to do so effectively we need your help.
If mobile black spots are something that affects you, have your say by clicking the link below and filling out the form.