Digital inclusion and Broadband for the Bush
People living in regional and remote Australia face a unique set of challenges when it comes to telecommunications and digital access. It is easy for highly-connected people living in cities to forget how expansive Australia is and how important it is to include the people in regional and remote communities in the rapidly changing digital world.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, around 30 percent of Australians live outside of a major city and this number is on the rise.
Regional and remote populations in Australia make a significant contribution to the country’s economy and identity and a large proportion of Australia’s indigenous population lives in regional areas.
Benefits of getting remote Australians online include improved economic participation, improved health and education outcomes and a more connected national community. However, people living in remote and rural areas of the country may feel forgotten by policy makers and digital providers and are too often faced with issues such as affordability, lack of infrastructure and low digital literacy.
Infoxchange has recently joined the Broadband for the Bush Alliance in an effort to address some of the issues of digital inclusion in remote and regional Australia. The alliance is a diverse group of organisations with a wealth of knowledge and experience in communications, remote service delivery, and community engagement, who are committed to digital equality outcomes for this unique population.
It believes there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for digital inclusion in Australia and seeks to find targeted and practical approaches to ‘to ensure that remote and rural Australia does not become further disadvantaged in the area of communications.’
The key objectives of the alliannce centre around ensuring equality of access to both mobile and fixed communications as well as high-speed broadband. The alliance has held forums for the last three years in order to explore the issues of digital inclusion and connectivity and provide practical and localised recommendations for policy makers and providers.
In May this year, Infoxchange participated in forum on the topic of digital inclusion facilitating discussion on issues such as digital literacy, technological infrastructure, vulnerable populations and accessibility. The outcomes from this discussion were included in the B4BA III forum communiqué to the government.
Infoxchange is looking forward to working with the alliance to develop innovative approaches to digital literacy in regional Australia, supplementing the work to be done in partnership with Australia Post.
We will also utilise our experience supporting the information and communication technology needs of not-for-profit organisations to ensure remote community organisations can take full advantage of the benefits offered by digital tools.
Find out more about our work in digital inclusion