Unmetered internet for rural properties
New internet services for rural families
AFTER many years of lobbying, unmetered data is now a reality for people living in rural and remote areas.
The proposed Sky Muster Plus Service is currently in the consultation period, with a launch expected next year.
New chair of the National Farmers’ Federation Telecommunication and Social Policy Committee and member of Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote (BIRRR) Australia, Kylie Stretton said the package has been a long time coming.
“It’s going to make a huge difference,” she said.
“There was a lot of pressure on the issue from groups such as BIRRR, AgForce and ICPA and they’ve listened to us.”
Living on a property in Central Queensland herself, Mrs Stretton said the current Sky Muster data runs out quickly and slows down once the quota has been met.
“In some places it runs out within two or three weeks and it leaves you with nothing for the rest of the month,” she said.
“With the new service, checking weather, emails, doing online banking and software updates will go unmetered.
“However, when it comes to the kids downloading game and music it will still slow down. So even if you’ve met your monthly data you will still be able to do the important things without missing out.”
She said internet access is crucial to properties and regional areas.
“People have had to move into town, so they can access internet to run their off-farm businesses,” she said.
“But at this time of year it’s also important because it’s storm and fire season, so people need access to alerts
❝There was a lot of pressure on the issue from groups such as BIRRR, AgForce and ICPA and they’ve listened to us. — Kylie Stretton
to be able to protect their property.”
Mrs Stretton has heard many stories from families over the years about how lack of internet data had impacted them.
“It was heartbreaking,” she said, “I remember there was one family whose children were being home-schooled the eldest was 15 and he was doing a certificate in agriculture.
“His younger brother needed access to a speech pathologist using Skype.
“He would get up at 1am to do his lessons in off-peak hours so his younger brother had enough internet to see the speech pathologist.”
Mrs Stretton said customers will need to sign up for the new service once it is available.
“If you already have Sky
CAMPAIGN SUCCESS: Shelly Hawkins from Trek West Hiking Tours, Camooweal; Annabelle Woods from cattlesales.com.au; Stephen Rue, NBN CEO; Danielle Doyle aka Miss Chardy; Kylie Stretton from Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia; and Wendy Hick, federal president of the Isolated Children’s Parent’s Association. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTEDMuster you won’t automatically get the new Sky Muster Plus,” she said.Kylie said they want to see telecommunication companies take a step up.“There needs to be more digital literacy made available to the regions,” she said.