Bridging the digital gap between regional Australia and the world
By 2020, the gap between households and businesses in capital cities and those in regional areas will have narrowed significantly.
Narrowing the gap between households and businesses in regional and metropolitan areas will have a positive impact on the whole economy. People living in these areas will have improved access to medical treatments, students will have opportunities to expand their learning through access to education and research through high speed broadband, and regional businesses with an online presence will become more competitive in a globally connected world.
Why is it important?
Regional Australians want the same access to services as their metropolitan counterparts, and high-speed internet connections will go a long way to bridging that gap. The number of households with an internet connection is steadily increasing across the whole of Australia, but there is still a gap between metropolitan and regional Australians. Travelling long distances to access healthcare and education services is not ideal, and as these services are increasingly available online, access and equity for regional Australians will improve.
Where are we now?
Current data indicates that the number of Australians who have never used the internet is higher among those people living in regional and remote areas. For example, 27 per cent of people from remote areas aged 15 and over did not use the internet in 2010–11, compared with only 18 per cent of people in Australia’s major cities.
The NBN Regional Legal Assistance Program provides grant funding to assist with the delivery of legal assistance services utilising the NBN, and to attract and retain staff in selected regional areas.