Peter pan

Connectivity issues leave people behind

Tara Murray

Phone and internet connectivity has become even more important than ever as people shift to working and learning from home, according to a new report.

The Connecting Victoria Engagement Report brings together lived experiences on mobile and broadband connectivity collected by the Department of Jobs, Constituencies and Regions between July and September.

The research will help the state government identify locations for upgrades and new infrastructure under the Connecting Victoria program in Greater Victoria and the outer suburbs of Melbourne.

The report found that many people were struggling to work and learn from home due to poor connectivity.

Of the responses, 24% of people mentioned connectivity issues related to remote work and education.

“Companies without high-speed internet told us they were missing out on opportunities for economic growth,” the report said.

“They said poor connectivity infrastructure limits their operations, preventing them from performing even basic tasks such as answering emails, handling electronic transactions or calling employees and customers. Residents told us that poor connectivity and continuous outages made it difficult to work remotely, study online, and socialize via the Internet.

“It makes residents feel dissatisfied and stressed.”

The report also pointed out that many places were experiencing rapid development and growth, but the infrastructure was unable to cope, resulting in slow connectivity and continuous outages.

As part of the research, 13 roundtables were held with nearly 300 community members, leaders and advocates attending these sessions.

Melton, which is a growth area and outer suburb, had one of the highest response rates for broadband and mobile connectivity issues.

The research found that 75% of council responses mentioned social inclusion said poor connectivity was a contributing factor.

Low digital skills, inability to stay in touch with family and friends, and impact on learning were some of the main challenges in areas with limited connectivity.