FARMERS have applauded a draft decision by the ACCC today to continue regulation of the wholesale asymmetrical digital subscriber line (ADSL) service for a further five years.
National Farmers Federation president Brent Finlay said agriculture was on the verge of a digital revolution, but this could not occur without better and more equitable access to telecommunications.
“Until the roll out of the National Broadband Network is complete, the declaration of the ADSL will remain a more affordable service for the farmers and regional communities fortunate enough to be able to access it,” Mr Finlay said.
“This draft decision comes at a crucial time for the future of rural telecommunications, with the ACCC conducting a market study into the communications sector and reviewing mobile roaming, while the Productivity Commission is inquiring into the future of the Universal Service Obligation.
“Unfortunately, many farmers are still dealing with internet services far inferior to ADSL but these inquiries are a chance for the government to set things right for the future of rural telecommunications and to ensure the digital divide is closed.
“Farmers need a Universal Service Obligation that covers voice and data - this is a no-brainer in the 21st century.
“As the NBN roll out gathers paces, it’s also time there was greater accountability placed on NBN Co for the quality of the service that it delivers, and how it responds to customer issues.”