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Inquiry Details

Broadband in Rural and Regional Communities: Key Issues for Further Investigation

In 2007 the Committee called for submissions and has prepared a discussion paper on key issues for further investigation. The Committee invited comments on these issues and submissions have now closed. High speed or “broadband internet” enables the transmission of large volumes of data in many modes quite quickly. There are huge economic benefits to such technology as a means of operating businesses and delivering government services efficiently. The Committee does not doubt that large parts of rural and regional New South Wales do not have access to broadband at the same speeds and for the same price as people in the city. The Committee has already received much information about Commonwealth and State programs to improve access to broadband services and would welcome further information on this topic. The Committee also received much information about the benefits and opportunities broadband could give regional and rural communities. It is particularly interested in further case studies of how broadband can help rural and regional communities and businesses. It would also appreciate suggestions on ways to avoid the consequences of inadequate broadband services in the future. Other key issues that the Committee would like further information on are: 1. Strategies for addressing the lack of availability of services in certain areas including the choice of technology; 2. The appropriate role for State government in promoting and increasing the use of broadband; 3. State and local government planning in delivery of broadband services in particular areas; 4. The importance of broadband services for education, health and business activities and to retain regional and rural population levels; and 5. The actual level of service required in the future to maximise the benefits to these communities.
This inquiry was self-referred on 5 March 2008.