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


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.

Mayor of Dubbo to present on the NBN at the Australian Regional Development Conference


The Mayor of Dubbo, Councillor Mathew Dickerson, will present at the Australian Regional Development Conference will be held at the Commercial Club Albury on the 26– 27 August 2015.

Mayor of Dubbo, Councillor Mathew Dickerson

Mayor of Dubbo, Councillor Mathew Dickerson

Speaker Bio:   Councillor Mathew Dickerson has a small business career that goes back to when he was aged 12 when he started his first small business, and has since started a total of 6 small businesses.

He has a long history of success in small business both from a financial perspective but also winning many awards. Among some of the major awards collected Mathew has the Microsoft Worldwide Partner of the Year, the Australian Business Council Award for Innovation and the Small Business Champions Award as the best IT business in Australia.

Mathew still retains ownership of two small businesses but spends his time writing and talking about small business with the most successful of his three books called Small Business Ru!es. He also writes a monthly column for a nationwide magazine, a fortnightly column for an American magazine and appears as a permanent guest on the nationwide Tony Delroy show to discuss small business concepts.

In his spare time he spends time with his wife and four children, he is an active member of Mensa, races Mountain Bikes and has served his local community as their Mayor since 2011.

Presentation Title:   Is the NBN the saviour of Regional Australia?

Presentation Overview: A population concentration map of Australia from the early 1900s showed many population centres across the nation. In essence, people needed to live where they worked. Along came the motor car – and then air travel – and a population concentration map of Australia today is vastly different with minimal population centres away from the coastal capitals. Overwhelmingly people are now choosing where they lived based on the hard to define quality of ‘amenity’. In short, for regional Australia to attract people, towns and cities across the nation must offer equivalent – or better – services and infrastructure to what major cities offer. The NBN is a key piece of this magical quality of ‘amenity’ and, if your town or city is connected to the NBN, how can you leverage off that to grow your population and GDP.

To be redirected to the Australian Regional Development Conference website please click here.

Is remote and rural Australia being dudded by the NBN? NBN and rural Australia

Rural and remote Australia and telecommunications and digital services

Is remote and rural Australia being dudded by the NBN?

Remote and rural Australia are contributing to GDP, are they receiving equity in telecommunication and digital services. Lagging essential services impact on economic and community development for rural and regional Australia.

By Mark A Gregory, RMIT University

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is an important nation-building project that’s being implemented at a time of fundamental change in the way we utilise services over the digital network.

For most Australians – those of us in big cities – the NBN will be a big improvement over the existing access network, thanks to fibre connections.

But for the 7% of Australians in regional and remote areas, the NBN will take the form of either fixed wireless or satellite services.

These services will provide customers with download speeds of 12MB/s compared to the 100MB/s fibre customers will enjoy. The disparity in upload speeds is even greater.

So are these wireless and satellite services really good enough? Are Australians in rural areas being dudded of appropriate infrastructure?

And should there be flexibility in the NBN roll-out plan to allow remote shires to contribute to bringing fibre to their communities?

Remote control

The remote Barcoo Shire in western Queensland is a pertinent example of a region that will miss out on the best of the NBN.

Bruce Scott, former mayor of Barcoo Shire told ABC Radio’s AM in late September:

The national information superhighway is so critically important and if we’ve got a second-rate service coming into these communities what reason is there for people to stay?

Scott said that while satellite services planned for Barcoo are a great solution for domestic broadband, they won’t support communities that need real-time, high-bandwidth services – services such as health care, education and government services.

Satellites will not provide video links for hospital clinics, for access to school curriculums – it won’t provide what is needed for these towns to function.

Current Barcoo Shire mayor Julie Groves and Geoffrey Morton, mayor of Diamantina Shire – to the west of Barcoo Shire – proposed earlier this year that 700km of optic fibre, costing A$22 million, should be laid to connect five towns in their shires to the NBN.

Julie Groves told AAP and Suzanne Tindal in July:

We also need our residents and visitors to be able to access mobile communication for safety, business and social media.

Our younger generation will not stay if they are not connected.

In Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory remote towns and communities are sure to have similar concerns to those voiced in the Barcoo and Diamantina Shires.

Design flaw

As well as dudding residents of rural Australian towns, the current NBN design fails to take into account the more than two million Australians and international tourists that take to the roads every year during winter and journey into the outback.

In 2011 outback Queensland had an estimated 381,000 international and domestic visitors who stayed for more than two million nights.

As mentioned, the NBN makes provision for fixed wireless and satellite services yet caravans and motor homes are often moved into remote Australia and reside in one or more locations for months on end.

The NBN will not cater for caravans and motor homes and so for many tourists, WiFi is the only low-cost option.

Unfortunately, for many regional and remote towns – such as those in the Barcoo and Diamantina shires – WiFi hot-spots are not available. Nor are they likely to become available if business is forced to use the NBN fixed wireless and satellite services.

We have already reached the point where travellers need and expect to have internet access. This, in turn, means WiFi is a fundamental service that travellers demand.

Fibre is needed to help support businesses such as caravan parks, hotels and motels so they can provide WiFi to their customers.

Mobile cellular services are also very limited in rural areas. At the Birdsville horse races held every September, only Telstra and Optus provide (limited) mobile service and there is a only limited cellular data available.

As a result, holiday-makers in rural areas have little or no opportunity to utilise the digital network on their journeys.

Quite simply, without fibre connections to regional towns and communities, rural and remote Australia will be left behind.


As is ever the problem with large infrastructure projects, cost is one of the driving factors. While it would be unfeasible to lay enough fibre to connect all Australians to the NBN, it would certainly be possible to increase fibre coverage.

Barcoo and Diamantina shires have committed A$5.5 million to extending fibre coverage into their jurisdictions, calling for state and federal funding to make the plans a reality.

The new Queensland government is in cost-cutting mode and is therefore unlikely to be keen to participate until the budget is an improved position.

But the previous Queensland state government had committed A$2.8 million and indicated it would consider dollar-for-dollar matching.

While the federal government has provided more than A$350 million to fund regional broadband-related projects – including the Digital Regions Initiative, Clever Networks, Indigenous Communications Program and the Regional Backbone Blackspots Program – it is yet to respond to the Barcoo and Diamantina proposal.

It is unlikely the federal government will want to contribute to a fibre network in one area of remote Australia, given the risk of other remote shires calling for similar funding.

Furthermore, efforts to increase fibre roll-out in rural areas are likely to undermine the NBN Co. business case and invite concern about whether or not the NBN satellites are needed.

Is there room for flexibility?

Regional and remote Australia fulfils an important and valuable role in many aspects of Australian business, society and culture.

As Australians we need to ask ourselves the question: are the people that live in remote areas any less important than those that live in urban areas?

Should the government and NBN Co be flexible with the proposed NBN roll-out? More specifically, should remote shires be able to contribute towards fibre network connections if there is demand and a willingness among the community?

The answer should be a resounding yes.

The federal government needs to positively respond to the Barcoo and Diamantina proposal so the project can move ahead. Other regional and remote councils are likely to follow the Barcoo and Diamantina shires with their own proposals and those too should be supported.

Remote and rural Australia

Rural Telecommunications
Rural Telecommunications


The need for flexibility with the NBN roll-out should not be a political football: it should be an opportunity for all Australians to participate equally in the digital revolution, irrespective of where they live or travel around this nation.

Mark A Gregory does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations. The ConversationThis article was originally published at The Conversation.  Read the original article.

NBN and rural Australia

Have your say about Mobile, broadband and technology at the Australian Regional Development Conference.

NBN Co will be presenting at Australian Regional Development Conference in October in Albury.

Rural areas need broadband

By Claire Wallace, University of Aberdeen; Godred Fairhurst, University of Aberdeen; Leanne Townsend, University of Aberdeen, and Nikhil Ninan, University of Aberdeen

The National Audit Office has warned that the government is two years behind schedule in its plan to bring broadband to 44 rural areas by 2015. It now looks like only nine of these areas will be linked up in that time.

A further problem highlighted in the NAO report is the lack of competition between commercial partners. BT is now the only service provider left in the bidding and has secured all of the 26 contracts awarded so far through the government’s rural broadband programme. According to the NAO, the company will pocket £1.2 billion in public funds as a result of the rural broadband roll out.

The government’s ambitious target was originally to provide 90% of UK households with speeds above 24 megabits per second and the remaining households a minimum of two. These targets suggest everyone will be connected with speeds of at least two mbps, the basic requirement for accessing many commonly used web applications. But the government has only gone so far as to aim for connecting “virtually” all communities to this standard, suggesting that some miss out on the initiative entirely.

Those living in rural areas are socially and physically isolated. They suffer from a lack of available transport, services and resources. While average incomes in these areas are often higher than in urban settings, rural communities are often characterised by older populations and some low income groups. Their problems are exacerbated by a lack of adequate broadband which disadvantages them particularly in terms of accessing businesss, healthcare, educational, recreational and government services. People who have no access to wired broadband services have to pay more for alternative broadband services or take matters into their own hands by providing the service for themselves.

Many rural residents now need online access for government services, such as to claim benefits or rural subsidies. A lack of broadband also disadvantages rural businesses, which often need superior digital accessibility to be competitive. Without high-speed access, some may relocate, causing depopulation in fragile rural economies.

Employees, too, are left unable to embrace new ways of working, such as working from home, which can lessen the burden of commuting. Finally, educational services are increasingly provided online and those with slow or no broadband are likely to miss out.

In a summary of broadband provision in the UK, Ofcom found that the lowest speeds are typically found in geographically remote and sparsely populated areas. These areas are the least economically viable targets for traditional service providers such as BT, because of their challenging physical geography.

The Broadband Delivery UK initiative notes that 5% of the population (mostly rural) will need to look beyond wired connectivity to alternate ISP technologies such as satellites or long distance wireless to implement broadband.

Poor broadband should not be a penalty that rural communities simply have to put up with. The sustainability of rural areas in the future depends upon better broadband access. Without this, people and businesses are forced to relocate, leaving empty spaces and more concentrated populations around overstretched urban areas.

Our research suggests that the digital divide between rural and urban areas is likely to widen, rather than narrow. As urban areas receive higher speeds through superfast broadband, rural areas get left further and further behind. East London businesses are already on the verge of enjoying speeds of 4 gbps.

A focus on upgrading speeds to 24 Mbps for 90% of households detracts from the need to provide at least a basic service to all who currently suffer poor or no broadband connectivity. It is important to prioritise broadband to these households, rather than increasing broadband speed to households in areas that already benefit from acceptable levels of service.

Claire Wallace receives funding from the RCUK Digital Economy programme made to the dot.rural Digital Economy Hub..

Godred Fairhurst receives funding from RCUK (Digital Economy Programme), Technology Strategy Board (TSB Digital Advanced Rural Testbed) and the European Space Agency (ESA ARTES Programme).

Leanne Townsend receives funding from RCUK as part of the dot.rural Digital Economy Hub at the University of Aberdeen.

Nikhil Ninan receives funding from RCUK Digital Economy programme made to the dot.rural Digital Economy Hub.

The ConversationThis article was originally published at The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Rural broadband and NBN to be discussed at the Australia Regional Development Conference 2014, Albury

Digital economy strategy: regional Australia how are we tracking?

Developing a digital economy strategy for regional Australia – what your plans? A digital regional network with access to high speed broadband and the digital economy will offer unprecedented opportunities for rural, remote and regional Australia.

Digital Economy Strategy Development

RDA-NR is leading the development of the Northern Rivers Digital Economy Strategy in conjunction with the Northern Rivers Digital Working Group, which includes representation from all the local councils in the region and education providers. For more information about

Also Hume RDA has committed to the development of a digital economy strategy for the whole of the Hume Region. The Strategy covers connectivity and technologies across mobile, fixed and digital. The completed strategy will assist to identify the level of readiness and barriers to readiness, as well as the creation of strategies and actions to support the region in responding to opportunities. Read More about Digital Hume: A Digital Strategy for a Smart Region

What are your plans for your digital economy strategy for your region? Have you mapped your current and future infrastructure requirements for mobile, satellite service, fixed wireless and broadband in the region. What are the best practice around service delivery relevant to regional and rural environments?

How are regional businesses and enterprises prepared for success in the digital economy.

National Digital Economy Strategy is under review- By 2014 NBN Commonwealth Strategy will have progressed and we would like to hear from you at this Australian Regional Development Conference.

The conference will feature a keynote on “Connecting Regional Australia with Cost Effective Wireless Networks.” from Professor Y. Jay Guo, Research Director, Smart and Secure Infrastructure at the CSIRO.

Call for papers – do you want to speak at a conference on digital economy, NBN or other issues related to rural broadband.

Authors or organisations interested in submitting a paper or presenting a workshop are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 300 words outlining the aims, contents and conclusions of their paper or presentation; or about their intended role in a workshop.

All proposals will be reviewed by the Conference Program Committee. Presentations will be selected to provide a program that offers a comprehensive and diverse treatment of issues related to the conference theme.

Australian Regional Development Conference

RDA Conference15-16 October 2014, The Commercial Club Albury Secretariat: (T) 61 7 5502 2068 (F) 07 5527 3298 Email: [email protected] URL: