AMA Submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network

The AMA provided a submission on 20 March 2017 to the Joint Standing Committee’s inquiry into the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN). The submission, which focuses on broadband access for regional, rural and remote health services, upholds the principle that all Australians, regardless of where they live or work, should have equitable access to high-speed and reliable internet services.

The submission highlights that the NBN is a necessary and worthy investment that is needed to enhance the important contribution made by regional areas to Australia’s economy. It notes that the economic and social benefits of advances in information and communications technology can only be fully realised through access to fast, reliable and affordable broadband services.

However, the submission notes there are many regional rural and remote areas that have very poor broadband connection. Internet services delivered via satellite only make available relatively small download allowances and these come at a much higher cost and slower speed than those services available via fibre or fixed wireless in metropolitan areas. The submission stresses that this ‘data drought’ must be addressed as a matter of priority.

Among other things, the AMA has urged the Government to find ways to extend the boundaries of the NBN’s fibre and fixed wireless footprints into the satellite footprint wherever possible to lessen the reliance on satellite for those living in rural and remote Australia and to address the increase in internet usage over time.

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