Bush internet advocacy group, Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia (BIRRR) says preliminary results from its internet users survey highlight the need for an independent telecommunications advisory body.
BIRRR collected data from almost 2000 internet users from right across Australia and hope to release the full findings in the coming days.
A spokeswoman for the group said early results showed that 88 per cent of respondents said data did not meet their needs while 73 per cent do not get reliable mobile phone coverage at their home.
Almost half still experience having their monthly service ‘shaped’ – where internet speeds are slowed as they approach their data limits.
“As illustrated by comments of those surveyed, many bush internet users encounter frustration from unreliable service and confusion around their options - reinforcing need for independent telecommunications advisory body,” the spokeswoman said.
Among those expressing their frustration on the BIRRR Facebook page this week were Monto beef producers and business owners, Carly and Grant Burnham.
The Burnhams run a certified organic beef operation on Bonnie Doone, 60km west of Monto, that sells boxed beef direct to customers throughout central and southern Queensland.
In January the couple were forced to move their office into Monto in order to access better internet services.
Carly Burnham said they had endured many frustrating years of poor internet and needed to move the office in order to grow their business.
“We have a finance officer who would to travel out to our property at Monto, only to have her work delayed by slow internet,” she said.
“Now we have quadruple the amount of download for less than a quarter of what we paid out here.”
The Burnham’s internet has not always been poor.
Eight years ago, the couple set up fixed wireless through a radio telephone tower and for about six years their access was excellent.
“Then about two years ago it started really declining and last year it was just pretty much impossible,” Carly said. “It was like Indian giving - we got this amazing internet which brought the world into our home office so we really angled our business that way.”
Meanwhile, community forums being hosted this week by GrainGrowers across regional Australia to explain nbn Sky Muster connectivity have been well received, according to GrainGrowers spokeswoman Susan McDonnell. “We have nbn national stakeholder relations manager Roseanna Lacorcia travelling with us and she has cleared up a lot of grey areas.”