- Year: 2011
- Author: Thompson, Helen; Fong, George; Corbett, Jennifer; Fong, Barbara
- Publisher: Centre for eCommerce and Communications (CeCC), Lateral Plains (LP)
- Country: Australia
- State/Region: Victoria
Local governments in the Wimmera Southern Mallee together with the Grampians Regional Development Australia (RDA) Committee are working to build on past successes and position the region for a rapid uptake of next generation telecommunications and broadband, infrastructure and services.
The potential for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as a driver of economic and social development is well recognised. Regional competitive advantages in areas including grain production, mining, transport and manufacturing will be further enhanced through more extensive use of ICT. An accelerated rollout of next generation broadband will also make it possible to replicate and extend innovative service delivery in areas including education, health and government.
The Wimmera Southern Mallee ICT Study was conducted during the period between June 2010 and March 2011. More than 350 residents, businesses and local government representatives were actively engaged through community forums, business and community surveys and case studies. Innovative spatial mapping approaches have been used to present study findings to project participants and to other key stakeholders such as the Federal and State Governments, NBN Co and existing telecommunications service providers including Telstra Countrywide.
Information gathered through the Wimmera Southern Mallee ICT Study confirms significant unmet demand for fixed broadband services. Better and faster broadband, reducing the costs of access, enhancing safety and security and better supporting mobility were confirmed as the most pressing issues about the internet. Survey respondents indicated that their internet usage would increase if the internet was faster and cheaper. Enhanced mobile coverage, service and reception will generate economic and social benefits for local businesses and residents, benefit those visiting or travelling through the region and enhance safety in emergency events such as floods and bushfires.
Collaboration at a regional scale will more effectively support advocacy and other actions directed towards ensuring all residents and businesses can access and effectively use quality ICT services. The key strategic directions and actions outlined below build upon and extend the Grampians Region Strategic Directions, Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Strategic Plan, Central Highlands ICT Study, Moorabool Community Broadband and Telecommunications Strategy and Ballarat ICT 2030.