The digital divide is not simply an issue of broadband. Most regional businesses pay far too much for basic phone services, too.
In the extended coda to the recent federal election, much was rightly made of the digital divide between city and country, of the need for improved broadband services in rural and regional areas. Whilst this is surely not in question, what is often overlooked is how rural and regional business miss out on even basic telecommunications services.
We recently conducted a Telecommunications Review for a rurally-based farming organisation. We discovered that had this organisation maintained its offices in a metropolitan – or even large regional – area, then we could have easily halved their telecommunications expenses. Indeed, our experience has shown that we could have consistently saved such organisations in the order of 40-50% on their telecommunications costs, with no drop in functionality (in fact, quite the reverse).
This is not an isolated case. Indeed, a great number of our clients operate in rural and regional areas, and time and again we find that their access to competitive pricing and emerging technologies is hamstrung by a lack of competition outside of city centres.