AMA calls for new safeguards to ensure access to telecommunication services in the bush

9 Feb 2017

The AMA has made a submission to the Productivity Commission Draft Report on the Telecommunications Universal Service Obligation (TUSO), calling for new safeguards to ensure Australians living in rural and remote areas have equitable access to telecommunications services.

Telecommunications access is vital for all Australians, particularly those living in rural and remote Australia, who are often isolated and struggle to access health services close to where they live. This is especially important in emergency situations.

The AMA submission highlights that the current TUSO, which focuses on standard telephone services, is obsolete and needs to recognise the significant developments in telecommunications since the TUSO was first developed.

In recommending the adoption of a new universal service obligation, the AMA proposes that it should apply not only to standard telephone services but also to high speed broadband services, particularly for regional, rural and remote medical centres and hospitals. With widely acknowledged potential of the internet to support better health care, the submission argues that the baseline standard for these services must be sufficient to allow affordable and reliable broadband access for eHealth and telehealth, medical education, videoconferencing, VoIP and other applications, regardless of the location of the user or the type of infrastructure available.

AMA Submission to the Productivity Commission on the Telecommunications Universal Service Obligation