NFF appointed to design, run Regional Digital Tech Hub
The Australian Government has announced the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has been engaged to develop and operate the new Regional Digital Technology Hub.
The Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said that the new Hub will support regional, rural and remote Australians to build their digital capabilities.
“We recognise that regional Australians have unique needs and face different challenges when it comes to digital communications,” Minister Fletcher said.
The Regional Communications Minister, the Hon Mark Coulton MP, said the NFF will provide a platform that is focused on regional consumers and regional issues. He added that NFF has a demonstrated understanding of regional, rural and remote Australia, and the connectivity needs of Australians living and working outside the major cities.
“The Hub will be a resource for all regional, rural and remote Australians. People will be able to access support over the phone, through social media and online, to help solve issues with their phone and internet services, find the latest applications for their homes or businesses, and understand their rights as consumers and where to go to escalate faults,” Coulton said.
NFF President Fiona Simpson said the Digital Tech Hub is an exciting project for regional Australia and their organisation.
“We look forward to working closely with the team at Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia (BIRRR), whose work has demonstrated how important it is for people in the bush to access support and advice from others who understand their challenges,” Simpson said.
Simpson noted that the remote work spurred by COVID-19 has enabled more people to take advantage of the lifestyle in regional Australia. Simpson believes the Digital Tech Hub will help regional Australians take full advantage of connected technologies.
BIRRR Co-Founder and Chief Admin Kristy Sparrow said the organisation has advocated for the need for a specialist troubleshooting team, to help regional Australians with the range of connectivity issues specific to living beyond urban areas.
“We have literally spent tens of thousands of hours on troubleshooting, gaining extensive skills and experience in this space and, as volunteers, we simply could not have continued the large volume of work required,” Sparrow said.
The NFF was selected to develop and run the Hub following an open tender process. The Hub is part of the government’s $220 million Stronger Regional Digital Connectivity Package, and is expected to be operational and online before the end of 2020.
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