Broadband for the Bush Forum IV


Unlocking the (Digital) Potential of the Bush

The fourth Forum: Unlocking the (Digital) Potential of the Bush took place on 15th-16th July 2015 in Darwin, at the beautiful Charles Darwin University Waterfront campus. The Forum placed emphasis on concepts and ideas that encompass collaboration and innovation, and with the mind-set that communications is an enabler of economic and social developments.

With more than 150 delegates, the event offered a unique opportunity to unite the voice of remote and rural Australians. It explored practical outcomes that promote digital inclusion, using both fixed and mobile technologies, and looked at better and innovative infrastructure in the bush.

Across the two-days, the Forum focused on four streams that drove a positive and strength- based approach: local connected communities, strong and sustainable economy, breakthrough innovations and technology, and engaged government.

The Forum brought together influential decision makers and end-users from across the community, public and private sectors, as well as technical experts and representatives from senior Industry, Australian government, NBN Co, and academic institutions. Broadband for the Bush Ambassador Brad Howarth moderated the Forum.

The Forum called for:

  • Further extensions to mobile coverage in remote areas through black-spot remediation programs.
  • Investigation of alternate last-mile delivery options, including community Wi-Fi.
  • Investigation of excising essential services such as education, healthcare and government services from data limits.
  • More targeted programs are needed to build confidence and awareness of relevant digital content.
  • Acceleration of the uptake of Tele-Health and Tele-Care as mainstream practice.

Based on the Short Forum Survey delegates completed, 94% would recommend the event to friends and colleagues. When asked what was great about the Forum, the three main highlights included the opportunity to network, the range of speakers, content and or focus of the event and the range of attendees from both grassroots and senior levels representing many sectors willing to share their experience and ideas.


You can download a copy of the Broadband for the Bush Forum IV Full Program here.


To view the photos from the Broadband for the Bush Forum IV visit IRCA’s Flickr Page.


You can download a copy of the Broadband for the Bush Forum IV Communiqué here.


Broadband for the Bush Alliance Press releases:



Penny Griffin | Manager Digital Economy, Industry and Innovation Division, Department of Commerce (WA)

“I attended Broadband for the Bush for the first time in July 2015 and it was a fantastic opportunity to explore current fixed and mobile connectivity issues in regional, rural and remote areas with governments, aboriginal groups, businesses, associations, research groups, telecommunications service providers, health and education professionals, institutions and community representatives. All the sessions were practical and informative. The diversity of participants and the commonality of issues underlined the sheer breadth and challenge of broadband problems in rural and remote Australia in particular, and the consequent impacts of poor connectivity on equity, social and economic amenity, government service delivery, business sustainability and community wellbeing. A great deal more needs to be done.

The Forum was attended by practitioners and senior decision makers who demonstrated a passion and commitment to addressing problems and bringing about real improvements. It was also an amazing learning opportunity to hear about bigger picture issues, research projects and the innovative steps that companies like Facebook are taking to develop platforms for the delivery of ubiquitous broadband globally. Networking was an integral element of the Forum and the relationships and goodwill I developed there with companies like Active8 are already leading to solutions in parts of remote Western Australia.

Anyone with a stake in improving broadband services outside the metropolitan and larger regional centres should be joining this conversation brokered by the Broadband for the Bush Alliance. I’ll be back next year.”

Ross Duncan | Director Regional Access and Public Libraries, State Library of Queensland

“The Broadband for the Bush Forum is an important event, as there were many participants who would not normally interact face to face in relation to the issue of broadband access in the bush. There was a diversity of speakers and workshop topics, and good opportunities to learn about what other attendees were doing.”

Nick Lynch | Tiwi Islands Regional Council

“Broadband for the Bush Forum at Charles Darwin University 2015 was important and interesting to be involved with people sharing their ideas and knowledge. It was good to hear about getting and receiving connectivity to satellite services in remote areas. Mobile phone and internet access connectivity are limited in a remote area. Some places still don’t have any connectivity satellite services because of no infrastructure. My understanding is this Forum is about how organisations can help people in remote areas to get connected to satellite services and understand how to use these services. The big organisations wanted to hear all the stories from people in remote areas on how they can deliver a better service for everyone. It was three days of non-stop talking, questioning and answering then reflecting on every subject that was talked about. I think the Broadband from the Bush Forum will help to make a better difference for connectivity to satellite services to everyone in the future. I would like to thank Northern Territory Library and IRCA for inviting me to this Forum.”




April Long | General Manager Enterprises and Programs, National Centre of Indigenous Excellence &
Grant Young | Indigenous Digital Excellence Director, National Centre of Indigenous Excellence
Indigenous Digital Excellence

Andrew Crouch | Senior Research and Projects Officer, Centre for Appropriate Technology
The CAT mobile phone hotspot: extending remote area cellular mobile coverage

Brendan Fitzgerald | Manager Digital Inclusion, Infoxchange &
Tegan Kop | Communications and Community Engagement Coordinator, Infoxchange
Go Digi: Breaking down the digital confidence barriers

Christine Ross | Moderator, Indigenous Focus Day
Indigenous Focus Day: an overview

Dr David Henry | Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO
Digital intelligence for agriculture: developments and applications

Deena Shiff | Chair, Regional Telecommunications Independence Review Committee
2015 Regional Telecommunications Review Consultation

Gavin Williams | General Manager, Fixed Wireless and Satellite, NBN Co
Making the long term satellite service a reality

Janette Wright | CEO and State Librarian, State Library of QLD
Libraries and their role in the digital economy

Joanne Jacobs | Managing Partner, Disruptor’s Handbook; Board member, Code Club Australia; Mentor, Telstra’s accelerator for startups, muru-D
How to build the future: facilitating innovation from primary schools to the corporate world

Martin Carroll | Pro Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Charles Darwin University
Entering the fourth wave of education engagement

Nick Long | Executive Director, Information and Technologies, Department of Education and Training (QLD)
Digital education

Penny Griffin | Manager Digital Economy, Department of Commerce (WA)
Unleashing the potential of regional WA (slides)
Unleashing the potential of regional WA (notes)

Peter Carter | Digital Transformation Consultant, National ICT Australia
Next generation video collaboration systems for regional Australia

Teresa Corbin | Chief Executive Officer, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network
The future of the Universal Service Obligation

Zoe Betar | Learning Experience Designer, National Centre of Indigenous Excellence
Digital making for engaged learning environments

Forum ambassadors

  • Rosemary Sinclair | FAICD CPA, Member ACMA, Board Member TUSMA, Board Member VASP
  • Brad Howarth | writer, speaker, author
  • John Huigen | Principal, Huigen Advisory


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Please note: Broadband for the Bush Alliance is no longer active since 2019. This legacy site is being retained for historic and research purposes
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