Survey shows better coverage is needed

Eyre Peninsula residents are frustrated by a lack of reliable internet coverage and speed, according to a telecommunications survey conducted by Regional Development Australia Whyalla Eyre Peninsula (RDAWEP).

The organisation asked residents and businesses throughout Eyre Peninsula to help inform a federal government review into regional telecommunications.

In addition to a lack of reliable coverage and speeds, residents and businesses were concerned with issues related to the functionality of the National Broadband Network (NBN), with very few people aware of the Sky Muster Satellite service and others expressing doubts about its reliability, while the region also views itself as disconnected.

More than 50 per cent of responses came from Eyre Peninsula businesses, with many – especially from more rural areas – stating they were struggling to keep up without reliable and affordable internet services.

A Ceduna resident said there was a need to “move with the times” to stay in line with metropolitan clients.

“We need to replicate all the digital services that are offered by the businesses that originate in digital technological rich areas like capital cities both in Australia and overseas or we will lose clients,” he wrote.

“The age of digital technology now means you don’t have to live in a capital city to have a productive, profitable business.

“You can live regional and remote and deal on the world stage so long as we have a fast, reliable broadband internet service.”

A theme to the responses was unhappiness with poor mobile coverage and black spots throughout Eyre Peninsula.

More than half the respondents identified mobile service as the biggest issue they were having, ahead of NBN and the fixed line network. 

Survey respondents said mobile black spots impacted people on a daily basis by obstructing their ability to make a phone call or send a text.

They felt the lack of coverage could be unsafe, especially if people were not able to reach emergency services when needed.

Respondents felt installing additional towers would help alleviate the problem.

A number of people said they were keen to embrace technology but were hoping for an improvement to services available, with 63 per cent noting they had the skills to get the most from their digital technologies, while 37 per cent relied on online tutorials or family, friends and colleagues to improve their skills.

There were a few suggestions for TAFE courses or workshops on digital skills to provide hands-on learning for those not confident in their abilities.

RDAWEP said it would pass the information received to the government to aid their regional telecommunications review.

They said they would also like to pinpoint the locations of mobile black spots in the region, to determine where more towers needed to be built to lobby the government and mobile phone service providers and let them know what is required.

Highlight your mobile black spot at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LTSQ3BC