Access to high-speed broadband is vital for users and businesses based outside Australia’s major cities. With more and more business being done on the Net and Governments developing web based portals to access vital services such as aged care and disability care and reducing access to face to face services, reliance on high-speed broadband is essential.
A report in today’s The Australian suggests that broadband users in the bush are being caught between two immovable objects – NBN Co, which has the national figures on the speeds available to users with copper wire connections and the retail Telco providers, who must purchase sufficient bandwidth to enable their users to achieve the speeds available. Neither group will release the data showing the speeds available and the level of bandwidth available.
And if the retailers haven’t bought sufficient bandwidth, we see users “achieving” speeds 1/500th the speed that they signed up to – according to The Australian.
David Butt, CEO of the National Rural Health Alliance says “Enough is enough. This is unacceptable. The seven million people who live outside the major cities need to know that they have reliable access to truly high-speed broadband services that enable them to participate fully in the economic and social life we have all come to expect as normal service” he said.
“We see the Telcos out selling high-speed broadband on the strength of the speeds they claim will be available and then failing to deliver because they don’t want to pay for the bandwidth to support the services they sell. This is simply price gouging and it is time the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission stepped in and held them all to account.
“The further you live from a major city, the more reliant you are on internet services for adjuncts to your health care in the form of telehealth and web-based health and support services. With fewer health professionals available on the ground, the choices available to support people close to home become fewer and fewer. Slow broadband is compromising the health and wellbeing of people who rely on it, and this is simply not acceptable’ said Mr Butt.