Vodafone has called on voters to utilise social media to draw attention to “the urgent need for more funding for mobile blackspots with their local federal representatives and candidates” ahead of the federal election.Vodafone stated that it is urging voters in regional seats to take to social media, with Vodafone chief strategy officer Dan Lloyd stating that “now is the time for regional communities to send a clear message that they deserve a better deal on mobile telecommunications”.
“It’s time for Australians in regional and rural areas to send a clear message to their local MPs and candidates that action needs to be taken to end the mobile class divide between cities and rural and regional Australia,” Lloyd commented.
“For far too long, small businesses, farmers and families in regional areas have been forced to put up with unreliable coverage, lack of choice of provider or both, while people in the major cities enjoy world-class mobile services and strong competition.
“With 10,000 known mobile blackspots in regional Australia, the existing Mobile Black Spot Programme will only make a limited difference and needs to be expanded to bring services up to scratch.”
Lloyd has called for universal service obligation (USO) reform to change the allocation of existing funding for telecommunications services, along with an increase in overall funding.
“The $300 million provided to Telstra every year through the USO to maintain an outdated copper network and payphones in regional areas can be much better spent,” he commented.
“If some USO funds were diverted to a permanent Mobile Black Spot Programme, more Australians in rural and regional Australia could benefit from increased coverage and choice.”