Internet access needs just as much priority as infrastructure
With the Echuca Moama area being a major tourism destination and growing at such a rapid rate, it is ridiculous that internet connection and speeds are well below standard.
In an ever-digital world, the internet plays a crucial role in all of our lives.
According to the Regional Telecommunications Review, mobile services are available to 99.5 per cent of Australia’s population, but only covers 33 per cent of Australia’s landmass.
Access to services and education have largely moved online which should open doors for those that live regional.
However, it seems to be the opposite as regional internet speeds and connections hamper people’s ability to work as effectively as their metropolitan counterparts.
Infrastructure Australia in their latest report shows poor mobile and broadband coverage persists across the regions.
In the Loddon Mallee region it scored a Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) score of 58, which is considerably lower than the Victorian State average of 72.
The reports findings said that there are “supply shortfalls in fixed access broadband and mobile coverage which is impacting the safety of tourist locations and primary production areas.”
It also stated that mobile coverage is often poorer in more remote and rural areas, which is creating a digital divide across the region and reducing productivity and liveability.
As someone who has been a tourist here for most of my life and has moved here recently to work for The Riv, I find it ridiculous how poor internet service here.
I haven’t had broadband internet set up where I am residing, which is not even a kilometre out of Moama’s town centre.
So for internet usage, I rely solely on the mobile broadband network in the area.
Download speeds are okay if you are in the town centre on mobile broadband, only a couple kilometres out and your struggling to scroll your social feeds.
But the moment there is a busy weekend or holiday where many tourists are here using their mobile network at the same time, the internet is back to dial up speeds.
For example, the week of Easter when I was home, the network was very slow for most of the day due to the extra demand and the only times you could get reliable download speed was at 3am.
With Echuca Moama growing at a rapid rate, it is crucial to upgrade the network in the area to be able to handle the extra traffic.
The internet is becoming an indispensable utility, like with running water or electricity.
So for people in the regions to be denied reliable internet connection compared to those that live in the metro areas, is practically denying them the basic necessities.