Outback lobbies concerned over telephone services

p2405 Sky Muster satelliteLETTERS TO THE EDITOR

 

Sir – The Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition is concerned reliable home phone services in the bush may be soon put at risk under proposed changes to the Universal Service Obligation (USO).

 

Members of the Coalition have appeared at the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the USO in Sydney.

 

As part of its Inquiry, the Productivity Commission is examining the possibility of transitioning voice services, currently delivered by the existing copper network, to National Broadband Network (NBN) infrastructure. Effectively this would mean voice services would be delivered via satellite for users in rural and remote Australia.

 

While we acknowledge the logic in transitioning to more modern infrastructure, this does not escape the fact that geographically a majority of users would be serviced via satellite – including areas that are currently serviced by the existing copper network.

 

As a coalition we are adamant that a reformed USO must not result in a degradation of existing services.

 

Teresa Corbin, CEO

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network

 

 

Sir – A transition to voice-over-NBN infrastructure could mean many users would have their service replaced by an inferior, unreliable satellite service.

 

The Sky Muster satellite (pictured) wasn’t designed to deliver universal voice services. A more acceptable long term solution needs to be found before any transition occurs.

The most significant concern for the is safety during such a transition. In emergencies a reliable voice connection can be the difference between life and death.

 

There are also issues around how remote businesses are expected to operate in a 21st century economy and meet their workplace health and safety obligations.

 

Fiona Simson, President

National Farmers Federation

 

 

 

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  1. Andrew Crouch
    Posted February 3, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Existing legislation protects these remote area voice services (particularly where mobile coverage does not exist) by requiring that “standard telephone services are reasonably accessible to all people in Australia on an equitable basis, wherever they reside or carry on business”.
    We need to demand that this protection does not get watered down.
    This will help to ensure that transition of voice services from the existing terrestrial networks to the NBN satellite can’t occur until and unless the NBN is proven to be a workable solution.

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