Cotton Australia has reiterated its call for networks and regulators to boost telecommunications coverage in regional areas, following the ACCC’s draft decision not to declare wholesale domestic mobile roaming.
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.”
Mr Murray also called on the Government to commit to on-going funding in the upcoming Federal Budget to address the critical issue of mobile phone blackspot coverage.
“City dwellers take mobile phone coverage for granted, but in many rural areas of Australia coverage is patchy or non-existent. This isn’t just an issue of convenience – mobile phone coverage is a business enabler, as well as a vitally important safety tool,” Mr Murray says.
“The Mobile Black Spot program has been a great initiative to date, and we call on the Government to ensure it continues long past the currently funded Round Three.”
Cotton Australia is the peak representative body for Australia’s cotton growing industry.
Cotton Australia media contacts:
General Manager, Cotton Australia
0427 707 868