Our world is becoming more and more reliant on digital technology and its reliable supply affects our capacity for economic growth, environmental sustainability and liveability. Digital technology is used by every industry and particularly benefits rural areas with such things as water management (telemetry), enabling online/distance education, decentralised employment, supporting close to home health service models, assisting irrigators with remote water testing and pump controls, and farmers with stock control through such things as livestock scanning and facial recognition. A lack of digital connectivity is a major problem for the RAMJO area. The issues include mobile phone blackspots, slow, unreliable or patchy internet connections, poor National Broadband Network (NBN) coverage, and poor satellite coverage.
Additionally, with the asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) services being phased out, the RAMJO communities are at risk of being without service unless they are prepared and able to move to the NBN.
These issues are affecting everyday transactions as well as limiting the implementation of new technologies including self-monitoring analysis and reporting (SMART) technology and placing our rural communities at a disadvantage. The challenges are the exponential growth in demand and expectations by community and business matched with the large geographical size of the RAMJO area.
Our lack of ability to keep up with demand means we are at risk of losing industry investment and population growth. Improving digital connectivity is noted in multiple strategy documents as crucial for economic growth as well as our health and safety. However, there is a lack of strategies detailing or proposing solutions.
A key role for the RAMJO is to work with community, business, government and service providers to facilitate the development of key infrastructure to improve performance and attract economic growth in the region.
RAMJO will achieve: