The Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee (RTIRC) was established by the Australian federal government under the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 to regularly review telecommunications services in regional and remote areas and to assess whether important new service advancements are delivered equitably.
Estens Review Edit
In August 2002, the Australian Government announced a review of telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote Australia. That review was conducted by the Regional Telecommunications Inquiry committee. The committee was asked to report on the adequacy of telecommunications services in these areas and put forward recommendations to the government. The final report, titled "Connecting Regional Australia-The Report of the Regional Telecommunications Inquiry" (also known as the Estens Report) is available here.
Glasson Review Edit
The second RTIRC review was completed in September 2008. It is known as the Glasson Report. The Report is available here. The Australian Government responded to the recommendations of the Glasson Review on March 5, 2009.
As a result, the government provided funding for three programs —
- The Digital Regions Initiative to fund innovative broadband applications to improve education, health and emergency services in regional areas through innovative broadband programs co-funded with all tiers of government.
- The continuation and enhancement of the Satellite Phone Subsidy Scheme for Australians living and working in areas without terrestrial mobile coverage, including the replacement of older handsets for those without coverage and making more handsets available to emergency services and health organisations with a demonstrated need.
- A refocused Indigenous Communications Program to improve basic telecommunications services, basic public internet access and training to remote Indigenous communities.
Sinclair Review Edit
The 2011–12 Regional Telecommunication Review report, "Regional Communications: Empowering Digital Communities" (also known as the Sinclair Report), was publicly released on May 23, 2012. The report and an summary are available here.
The Australian government responded to the recommendations of the Sinclair Review on August 23, 2012.
In line with the recommendations of the Report, the government has:
- Noted that there is a genuine desire across regional Australia for the faster, more affordable and more reliable broadband services that the NBN will provide.
- Reaffirmed its commitment to uniform national wholesale pricing for NBN services
- Provided funding for Regional Development Australia committees to develop collaborative digital economy plans for their regions and identify digital economy champions
- Expanded the eligibility for the Interim Satellite Service to include access for remote schools and health facilities
- Continued untimed local calls in the Extended Zones in 2012‒13.
- Committed to working with mobile carriers and NBN to take advantage of NBN fixed wireless towers to improve mobile coverage in regional areas.