The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) handed down its draft decision not to declare wholesale domestic mobile roaming last week. The move has been welcomed by Cotton Australia and the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), members of the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC).
The Coalition is a group of like-minded organisations who have come together to end the data drought and champion better communications services for consumers and small businesses living in rural, remote or regional areas. Visit the campaign page to register for updates on this issue.
Domestic mobile roaming is where telecommunications companies can direct their customers’ mobile phone transmissions through another company’s towers and equipment. Telecommunication companies are already free to come to commercial arrangements with each other to share towers, but the ACCC has been considering whether it should make roaming mandatory.
“While increased competition is important, it is more crucial at this point to bolster the regional network and improve basic telecommunications services, which severely lag metropolitan areas in scale and speed, and aren’t even available to many in the bush,” says Cotton Australia General Manager, Michael Murray.
“Our concern has been that mandatory roaming may significantly reduce a company’s incentive to invest in extending and improving the existing mobile footprint.”
“Telecommunications connectivity is vitally important for any modern business, and farming operations are no different. Today’s farmers control sophisticated, web-connected machinery but can’t use it to anywhere near its potential because of a lack of network connectivity.”
“Even more critical is the blockage that a lack of telecommunications services adds to growers’ ability to attract and retain staff; people want to live and work in areas where they are connected.”