There is poor access to digital services in the regional and remote areas of Western Australia due to a lack of fit-for-purpose digital infrastructure and low service performance of existing infrastructure.
In 2018, approximately 83% of Western Australian households had internet access. However, access in regional areas is significantly lower, with fewer than 50% of households connected in some areas.
The connectivity offered in some regional areas is below consumer expectations due to data congestion and unreliability. The National Mobile Black Spot Database also identifies over 450 mobile blackspots remaining in Western Australia.
The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit found that in regional centres and rural and remote areas, telecommunications infrastructure often delivers costly services that provide poor connectivity, speeds and data allowances.
Communities with better digital connectivity benefit from improved access to education, health care and other economic opportunities. Primary producers can also use digital agricultural practices to improve productivity and remain globally competitive with other producers.
Regional telecommunications transmission capacity is separately identified as a national High Priority Initiative on the Infrastructure Priority List.
The initiative could be addressed through a program to prioritise and improve the availability and quality of digital access in regional and remote Western Australia and potentially other areas in the state with poor access.
This covers a range of services, including investment in telecommunications infrastructure in regional areas to improve the level of service and coverage.
Proponent to identify initiatives and develop options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).