Cotton Australia has welcomed the final decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) not to declare a wholesale domestic mobile roaming service.
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 had been considering whether it should make roaming mandatory.
"As we said in May when the ACCC announced its draft decision on the issue, increased competition is important, but the telecommunications industry has bigger fish to fry when it comes to mobile services in rural and regional areas,” says Cotton Australia Policy Officer, Angela Bradburn.
"Cotton Australia agrees with the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) that it is more crucial to bolster the regional network and improve basic telecommunications services, which lag those available in metropolitan areas."
"Farmers rely on telecommunications activity to run modern businesses just as much as metropolitan users do. The lack of connectivity severely hampers our growers’ ability to use sophisticated, web-connected machinery anywhere near its potential."
"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."
"However, having argued against wholesale domestic roaming, telcos Telstra and Optus must now step up and deliver greater investment in telecommunications infrastructure in rural and regional Australia."
Ms Bradburn says Cotton Australia acknowledged the ACCC has released an issues paper which maps out actions for improving mobile covering in rural and regional areas. These include more transparency about network investment in the future and measures to reduce the cost of upgrading and improving mobile networks.
“Now that the ACCC has resolved the domestic mobile roaming question, it is incumbent on the telcos and the Federal Government to work hard to improve telecommunications infrastructure in the bush, which would fix major problems such as black spots in coverage.”
Cotton Australia is the peak representative body for Australia’s cotton growing industry.
Cotton Australia media contacts:
Policy Officer, Cotton Australia
0448 016 824
Communications Manager, Cotton Australia
0488 189 502