LACK of coverage, unreliable service and impacts on business have been among the issues raised during the submission period of the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Independent Review.
More than 650 submissions were received as part of the review, which is held every three years and aims to tackle some of the biggest issues regarding telecommunications such as changing demand, reliability, regional development and education.
The review committee, which is chaired by former Nationals MP and Deputy Leader of the House Luke Hartsuyker, Sue Middleton, Kristy Sparrow, Professor Hugh Bradlow and Michael Cosgrave, heard from bush locals from places like Dubbo and Gunnedah in NSW, Stawell in Victoria, Gunnedah, and Landsborough in Queensland.
Peak representative bodies such as Adelaide Hills Council, South Australia, AgForce Queensland Farmers Limited and Yarramalong Communications Action Group also entered submissions.
In it's submission, the Yarramalong Communications Action Group outlined a number of key concerns sparked by limited access to high-speed telecommunications services including challenges facing those doing online education, communication issues during disasters and deteriorating mobile coverage.
"After hearing stories from other regions during this review in a similar predicament, it seems our region is not unique in suffering poor communications," the group's submission read.
"We understand that about eight per cent of Australia is suffering the same fate, having had fixed-line services for decades only to have them replaced by a poorer substitute."
The impact of recent natural disasters such as the floods that hit NSW's northern coastal regions earlier this year was at the heart of the Wittitrin Progress Association's submission.
"The voice of our community is united," the association's submission read.
"We are crying out for help to ensure the safety and well-being of the residents in this community.
"We need reliable telecommunication access, available at all times."
The state's peak agricultural representative body NSW Farmers outlined the need for greater investment in rural telecommunications in its submission.
"There are many ongoing barriers to accessing quality, reliable and affordable telecommunications services across rural, regional and remote Australia," the submission read.
"These affect mobile, internet and landline services, leaving no simple solution.
"It is time for greater investment in long term telecommunications solutions to reduce the deepening digital divide between urban and regional areas, and to address the inequity of services, cost, quality and volume of data available.
"This will place rural businesses on a more even footing and enable them to remain competitive and sustainable in a modern, digital world.
"It is imperative that as Australia's reliance on technology continues to grow, our farming and regional businesses are not left behind."
Dubbo Regional Council in its submission advocated for more affordable connectivity.
"Greater connectivity at a lower price will enable indigenous business greater opportunity and greater connectivity between communities across not only the Dubbo LGA, but the area's to the west of Dubbo that have significant indigenous communities that are interconnected," the submission read.
"This would grow social service and economic opportunity."
A spokesperson for the review committee said while the committee thanked all those who made submissions it was not in a position "to discuss individual submissions", however it would provide a report to the federal government by the end of the year.
"These submissions provide valuable insights on the adequacy of telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote Australia and the committee is currently considering all submissions in detail to inform the development of its final report to the Australian Government," the spokesperson said.
To read all of the non-confidential submissions, visit: www.infrastructure.gov.au/have-your-say/2021-regional-telecommunications-review.