June 26, 2013

Indigenous Digital Inclusion

Telstra Indigenous Digital Inclusion: Stakeholder Consultation Summary

Summary prepared by Daniel Featherstone (Indigenous Remote Communications Association)

In March-April 2013, Telstra and Daymark Consulting undertook a series of stakeholder interviews with senior management representatives from 35 organisations (including IRCA) across the country to assess the barriers to digital inclusion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across remote, regional and urban settings. A report was distributed to stakeholders on 20th June 2013.

This consultation is one of 4 parts of a broader ‘Indigenous Digital Excellence’ program, including a digital excellence summit for Indigenous youth organised by the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence and Telstra Foundation in Sydney later this week.

The key issues raised by stakeholders in the consultation process included:

  • Mobile coverage (limited access);
  • Predominant use of mobile technology (smartphones, tablets);
  • Issues of affordability;
  • Video conferencing is highly desired;
  • Benefits [of digital inclusion] outweigh the negatives;
  • Need for Indigenous relevant materials (i.e. applications, training resources, on-line services, content);
  • Pre-paid is preferred;
  • People learn by doing.

Secondary issues raised include:

  • Access to technical support is key;
  • NBN is going to bring many opportunities, however there are concerns about the western market model, satellite solution even where fibre optic already exists;
  • Community resources work well (e.g. access facilities, shared WiFi);
  • Ownership is essential to deliver programs;
  • Don’t look to a deficit model.

Other issues were raised around cyber safety, social media use, need for appropriate technologies and applications, learning techniques, training resources and cultural content.

Barriers to Digital Inclusion were summarised, in order of impact, as:

  • Infrastructure;
  • Hardware in the home;
  • Affordability;
  • Propensity;
  • Appropriate web based services.

It was noted that the higher order barriers must be addressed before the lower order barriers can be overcome.

Some key insights for addressing digital inclusion include:

  • Focus on incremental improvements, with locally tailored solutions;
  • Match programs to how people learn to use technology: (e.g. peer learning and young people teaching the old);
  • Leverage an individual’s current use: base learning on current experience/usage;
  • Create opportunities to connect: including mobile-delivery services, community wifi, affordable data plans, free-use apps, and locally relevant phone plans;
  • Create opportunities to innovate: support Indigenous talent and knowledge to generate relevant apps and content;
  • Part of any program should address cyber-safety.


The full version of Telstra’s Stakeholder Summary is available below:

Telstra Indigenous Digital Inclusion Stakeholder Summary June 2013 (PDF)

The results from the stakeholder research will be presented at a digital excellence summit organised by the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, with the support of the Telstra Foundation, in late July, 2013. You can find more details about the summit and this initiative at


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