Regional Australians can now access free, independent advice on the best phone and internet connection options for their work, study, and lifestyle needs.
The Regional Tech Hub, which builds on the valuable services delivered by volunteer organisation Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia (BIRRR), has been in operation since December and has already assisted over 350 regional Australians with their connectivity needs.
As a resident of a small regional town in NSW, Regional Tech Hub Manager Jenna Widdison knows only too well how challenging connectivity can be for those in the bush.
Ms Widdison said the Hub was the one-stop-shop to troubleshoot questions like ‘what type of internet connection is available to me?’; ‘how much data do I need?’ and ‘does that tree or shed, impact my connection quality?’.
“Knowing what internet connection is available to you and which one is best suited to your needs can be complex and daunting for many regional people,” Ms Widdison said.
“Sometimes what works for your neighbour won’t necessarily deliver the connectivity you need and often a connection can be greatly enhanced with a small tweak or with a new piece of equipment.”
The Regional Tech Hub includes a website housing a range of information to help people understand their connection options, troubleshoot faults and improve their connection experience.
The Hub is an Australian Government initiative and was developed and is managed by the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).
The regionally-based Hub staff – who have a wealth of experience in IT, regional communications and customer service – are available to provide one-on-one assistance via phone, email or social media.
ACCAN Chief Executive Teresa Corbin said the Hub was a timely initiative that recognised the essential nature of telecommunications services and the unique operating environment in regional Australia.
“Connectivity is an increasingly important part of life – for social connectedness, operating a business and accessing health and education and government services
“Connectivity is particularly important for people in rural and remote areas of Australia, who are often quite geographically isolated.
“We know that providing tailored information and technical support, and assistance with escalating issues with telecommunications providers, can go a long way to bridging this gap,” Ms Corbin said.
The Regional Tech Hub can be accessed via regionaltechhub.org.au or 1300 081 029 or find out more on Facebook.