Regional Innovation 2

Regional innovation – from digital isolation to digital revolution.

Regional development is a key issue for rural and remote areas of Australia; however, innovation is often hampered by poor access to reliable and adequate telecommunications and a lack information on how to access and exploit digital  technologies to ignite business growth. Many businesses not far from major urban centres have extraordinary tales of digital isolation. This stream will look at examples of digital innovation across primary and creative industries, tourism, community services, health, education, and other sectors.

Session Chair: Brendan Fitzgerald – Broadband for the Bush Committee

Mini Menu: Featured Speaker, Keynotes and main speakers, ProgramDelegates – accommodation info, Registration

Speakers Thursday June 22 3.15-4.15

Mae Connelley

BIRRR: Update – the WA stories – important lessons and things still not right

Mae Connelley

Mae Connelley’s presentation


Mae Connelly is a grain marketing advisor with Farmanco, consulting to clients all over the WA grain belt. Mae has been working in grain marketing roles in different rural areas of Australia since 2001. She also runs a cereal and sheep farm with her husband in Pingrup, and works from home on the farm using Skymuster and a 3G tower 30km away. Mae joined BIRRR in 2015 when the 3G tower stopped working for 6 weeks – the help from the group to resolve the issue was invaluable. She still uses the group’s resources for regular assistance with the ongoing reliability issues and lack of compatibility with business tools with Skymuster, as well as data allowances being too small to run multiple businesses and meet personal requirements.

Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia (BIRRR) provides information and volunteer support for bush broadband options and issues. We also lobby for improved access to the internet for all Australians, no matter where they live.

The group provides two main benefits – help and support from volunteers with rural internet issues and information, and lobbying for improved telecommunications in the bush through writing submissions and meetings with government and industry.

The new NBN satellites have provided improved internet access for many in regional and remote WA, however there are ongoing issues with outages, reliability, usability, small data allowances and a higher cost versus comparable metro services. BIRRR has provided volunteer assistance to help resolve many NBN issues from installation, service issues and outages. BIRRR continues to campaign on several issues including retaining landlines for voice, improving the communication between NBN and customers, and the how to reduce the digital divide.


Free Public WiFi in 4 Remote Indigenous Communities in the Northern Territory

Daniel Sacchero

Daniel Sacchero, Business Manager, Easyweb Digital, NT

Daniel’s presentation

Daniel is a veteran of the ICT industry with more than 30 years experience working for small, medium and large corporates. In the last 20 years, Daniel has focussed building wireless broadband communications for corporate and government clients in cities and remote areas. In 2015 he joined Easyweb to promote Public WiFi as a platform to breach the digital divide and provide access to disadvantaged communities.

In April 2016, the NT Office of Aboriginal Affairs approved four grant submissions by Easyweb to deploy Free Public WiFi systems at four indigenous communities: Ntaria, Imanpa, Mutitjulu and Kalkutatjara. The systems were deployed in June 2016. In November 2016 I toured the communities to meet with local people and discuss the impact of the service. In this presentation, we show the usage of these systems and discuss our learnings of these projects.

We like to provide a brief of the systems deployed and show usage analytics on a per community basis.  We will also discuss the learnings of our community’s tour and the impact of the systems in community.


The CAT Mobile Phone Hotspot – one solution to the remote area conundrum

Andrew Crouch, Senior Research and Projects Officer, The Centre for Appropriate Technology

Andrew’s presentation

Andrew Crouch is Senior Research and Projects Officer with the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT), which he joined in 2006. He has a career background in telecommunications, and qualifications in engineering and international development.  Major projects he has contributed to while working with CAT include the Community Phones Program, the National Indigenous Infrastructure Guide, the Home Internet Project, and more recently the Mobile Phone Hotspot Project.

The first mobile phone hotspot was installed in the remote Aboriginal community of Red Sandhill near Hermannsburg in Central Australia early in 2015. Since then, 40 hotspots have been installed in remote communities, on highways and at tourist locations throughout the Northern Territory, providing robust, low cost, cellular mobile connections. The hotspot is one answer to the conundrum: How do we extend high cost cellular telecommunications to sparsely populated areas where the economic return is very low?