Many parts of Australia’s regional and remote areas have no, or poor, mobile phone voice and data reception, affecting quality and reliability of services.
While Australia’s mobile phone networks cover most individuals at home, there is limited service in many regional and remote areas (known as mobile blackspots), reducing mobile phone access for individuals when they travel and for some regional and remote communities.
Digital connectivity will become more important as the economy adjusts to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for regional and remote communities.
The lack of connectivity disadvantages Australians in these areas who rely on mobile connections for social inclusion and access to government services, such as health (for example, telehealth), education (for example, online distance education) and other welfare services, as physical services are often not cost effective to provide in these areas.
Access to reliable telecommunications can also be critical in emergency situations such as extreme weather, bushfires, flooding or serious trauma incidents, such as road accidents. A lack of mobile coverage can delay response times, thereby increasing the risk of lasting harm or loss of property.