GM of Industry Strategy & Public Policy at Vodafone Hutchison Australia to present at Australian Regional Development Conference

Matthew Lobb, General Manager, Industry Strategy & Public Policy at Vodafone Hutchison Australia will present at the Australian Regional Development Conference will be held at the Commercial Club Albury on the 26– 27 August 2015 .

The conference is an initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc., a non-Government ‘not-for-profit’ organisation.

Speaker Introduction: Matthew Lobb has overall responsibility for Vodafone’s government and stakeholder relations, regulatory affairs and public policy reform agenda. A key focus of this work is to advocate the need for a level competitive playing field in Australian telecommunications that fosters innovation and drives improvements to customer service.

Matthew joined Vodafone in 2011 after working as General Manager for Industry Engagement at NBN Co from 2009. Prior to this Matthew had an eight year stint in Telstra and held a range of roles including Director, Telstra Consumer Pricing, Group Manager, Commercial Development and Group Regulatory Manager, Telstra Wholesale.

Matthew also has extensive experience within Government having worked as an advisor to the Minister for Transport and Roads in NSW and to the Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs in the Federal Government.

Matthew is a Rhodes Scholar and has Honours degrees in Economics and in Law from the Australian National University, a MA from Oxford University and a MSc (International Relations) from the London School of Economics.

Presentation Title: Utilising the NBN to deliver improved regional mobile telecommunications coverage and choice

Overview:

Regional consumers are demanding mobile coverage and 83 percent of regional consumers agree that being able to choose their mobile provider is important.

Overcoming the roadblocks to mobile competition in regional areas will ensure consumers and businesses receive more coverage, better value, better service, choice and innovation.

Australia’s telecommunications market has undergone a profound change in the last 15 years and Australian consumers have become some of the most technologically savvy in the world. These changes and the rapid uptake of new technology have fundamentally changed our lives and benefited our economy.

In many places in regional Australia the economy and consumers are being denied access to reliable mobile phone coverage and the benefits that flow from mobility. The Australian telecommunications market is not driving sufficient investment in regional mobile infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the mobility to all Australians. Incentivising investment and removing the roadblocks to coverage expansion is a policy challenge that must be overcome.

In many areas of Australia it is only economically viable to build one set of mobile infrastructure. The best approach to deliver improved mobile coverage and increase consumer choice is for Government to facilitate telecommunications industry collaboration that reduces costs by better sharing infrastructure.

This includes leveraging the substantial investments that the NBN is undertaking in regional Australia. There are also a range of other policy levers that can be used to encourage infrastructure sharing. This includes better utilisation of the $300m per annum Universal Service Obligation payments that are currently not directed to mobile infrastructure.

The needs of mobile networks are technically similar to other uses of the NBN. In regional areas the NBN can reduce the costs of building mobile networks to expand coverage by utilising the NBN’s fixed-line network for ‘access backhaul’ services. NBN’s fixed-wireless network which is currently being built can also provide a foundation for the expansion of mobile coverage across Australia.

To view and/or download the Australian Regional Development Conference program, please click here.

Keynote Speaker Highlight: Su McCluskey, CEO, Regional Australia Institute

The Australian Regional Development Conference will explore the issues and opportunities facing Regional Australia today and into the future. The Conference will be held at the Commercial Club Albury on the 26– 27 August 2015.

The Australian Regional Development Conference is pleased to announce Su McCluskey, Chief Executive Officer, Regional Australia Institute as a Keynote Speaker.

Su McCluskeySu McCluskey is the CEO of the Regional Australia Institute (RAI), the first national independent policy think tank devoted to regional issues. The RAI conducts research into priority policy issues impacting all areas of Australia lying outside capital cities. Su is also a member of the Competition Policy Review Panel.

Su joined the RAI from the Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations where she served for three years as CEO. Su is a past Executive Director of the Office of Best Practice Regulation, was a Consultant Specialist Advisor to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources and held senior policy positions with the Business Council of Australia, the National Farmers’ Federation and the Australian Taxation Office.

Su has extensive expertise in regional policy development, taxation, regulatory reform and governance. As well as a broad understanding of policy implementation, her personal experience running a beef cattle stud in Yass, NSW gives her grassroots insight into regional and rural issues.

Su was named the winner of the 2013 Australian Financial Review and Westpac Regional Women of Influence Award and the 2014 winner of the Women in Australian Agribusiness outstanding contribution to policy category.