How can people in remote areas gain access to broadband on the same basis as the rest of the population? This was the focus of the third Broadband for the Bush forum “Building a Better Digital Future”; held in Alice Springs on April 30 and May 1.
The well-attended forum hosted discussions about the provision of adequate and equitable access to Broadband to the very large portion of Australia stamped under the “Remote” label. This brings on many challenges but these are not insurmountable with today’s technology.
The forum expressed the view that Broadband connectivity should be available to all Australians in the same way that everyone has the ability to post a letter or have a telephone connected. Broadband has become the modern-day telegraph or telephone and the disadvantage to individuals and organisations to those who do not have it is fast becoming a major issue. this is known as the “Digital Divide’.
Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Nigel Scullion was there and spoke of the Coalition’s plans for the implementation of a National Broadband System.
Jim Remedio from QRAM spoke at the forum and gave an overview of the innovation and progressive Black Star Radio Network that makes use of Cloud Technology via its private WAN system throughout the Cape York Region.
NBN Co plans to launch its new “Long Term Satellite” broadband system within the next 12 mouths and this has the promise of delivering downstream speeds of 25 Mbps with upstream speeds of 5 Mbps. This system has the potential to address many of the issues at the seat of the widening Digital Divide affecting many remote people. QRAM is looking very carefully at ways it can further improve its Black Star Network when this new system becomes available and is continuing discussions with NBN Co regarding this implementation.