Connect to improve quality of life

University of Southern Queensland shows benefits of digital connectivity for remote and rural communities


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Research shows benefits to connecting remote and rural communities

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DIGITAL connectivity improves your quality of life. 

Research conducted by the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) showed a digital connection is increasingly crucial to service delivery, economic development and quality life in remote and rural Australia. 

This supports research conducted by the Australian Farm Institute which indicated a 25 per cent increase in the gross productivity of farming outputs could be achieved through the adoption of digital technologies. 

The USQ research follows a 2015 landmark agreement, where the Barcoo and Diamantina Shires successfully lobbied to have fibre optic cable and mobile coverage connected to the remote communities of Birdsville, Bedourie, Jundah, Stonehenge and Windorah.

Populations outside the communities remained on Skymuster satellite access.

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USQ, project leader, Professor Jim Cavaye said residents involved in farming, business, police, council and schools were interviewed. 

“The results collected will help inform other initiatives to establish and improve internet and phone connection in rural and remote Australia,” he said.

“The study has involved face to face interviews with a wide range of community members and business operators across communities in the two shires.

“It’s a three-year study that will assess impacts over time.” 

Mr Cavaye said initial results showed digital connection has led to improved access to services such as health, education and banking, and business owners have been able to more efficiently order goods, promote their business and receive payments. 

The research is supported by the Barcoo and Diamantina Shire Councils, Telstra, the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, the Local Government Association of Queensland and the Remote Area Planning & Development Board and is expected to be completed next year. 

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The story Connect to improve quality of life first appeared on Farm Online.

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