Poor digital connectivity affecting the health of rural Australians

To improve healthcare services for rural and remote Australians through technological telecommunications, the AMA’s position statement on “Better digital connectivity to improve healthcare for rural Australians” urges governments to focus on improving mobile coverage and performance, as well as broadband, and improving the resilience of telecommunications infrastructure to natural disasters throughout the country.

The AMA’s position statement on better digital connectivity to improve healthcare for rural Australians, calls on the government to

  • ensure that digital platforms can adapt to developments in information and communications technology and provide digital connectivity through appropriate combinations of fibre, mobile, wireless and satellite technologies

  • ensure that broadband services are reliable and affordable for all communities, businesses and services across the country (government policies play a huge role in internet access in remote areas)

  • review and implement the recommendations of the 2021 regional telecommunications review and adopt recommendations 2, 6, 9 and 12 which call for:

  • Multi-year investment in connectivity

  • NBN Co’s system-wide upgrades to regional fixed wireless networks and introduction of measures to increase the accuracy and transparency of information on mobile network quality and coverage, including network congestion

  • Waiving data charges for low-income and income support recipients in regional, rural and remote Australia accessing all state, territory and federal government services, to improve affordability for these users

  • Identification of black spots and marginal areas not covered by broadband networks and prioritization of these areas when extending NBN infrastructures

  • Creating universal and unlimited online access to government, hospital and health services for people and businesses in rural and remote areas.

You can read the full position paper here and read the AMA’s scoping review for better digital connectivity to improve rural health care.

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