At Telstra our vision is to be a world-class technology company that empowers people to connect.

We have this ambition because connection is at our core – it is who we are – and we know that for regional Australia the digital age makes connectivity vital to the success of communities and businesses. We also know it is fundamental in helping to close the geographic divide and service gaps experienced by some of our regional communities.

This White Paper examines some of the opportunities that innovation and new technology may bring to regional communities across Australia.

We have a long history in regional, rural and remote communities and we’re proud to be a part of the lives of millions of Australians across every corner of the country. We are particularly proud of our long term focus on optimising rural services, originally in the extension of telephony and automation of networks in the 1980’s through to each of the Generations of mobile technology. We have Australia’s largest mobile network, connecting about 17 million mobile services which make around 70 million voice calls each day. We also connect 7.2 million fixed voice services and 3.3 million fixed broadband services.

Millions of mum-and-dad shareholders own a part of Telstra, whether directly or through their superannuation. We employ around 36,000 people and have more than 180 stores in small towns and regional cities.

We have technicians, engineers and service staff in every part of the country. When natural disasters strike, Telstra’s there on the ground, reconnecting people and providing vital technology for emergency services.

We have continuously invested to stay ahead of the competition, and we are determined to keep improving our customers’ experiences.

To ensure investment continues to flow to regional communities, we need Australia’s regulators and policy makers to continue to set fair rules that reward investment and hard work. Imposing regulated mobile roaming would discourage investment in regional mobile infrastructure and relegate regional customers to the status of second class citizens – an undeserved status that will become ever more stark as metro customers enjoy continuous upgrades in mobile network technology, capacity and speed over time.

We know there’s still more work to do to meet all our customers’ expectations, particularly outside the major cities. It is not enough to simply meet the current expectations of our customers. To pave the way for a brilliantly-connected future, Telstra is already investing in what comes next.

Whether it’s providing telemedicine services to remote communities, helping deliver the world’s best education to isolated children, bringing millions of sensors and machines into the Internet-of-Things and boosting productivity through the analysis of their data, or simply getting more accurate long-range weather forecasts – we are taking action now to help deliver the kind of future that allows you to thrive.

Technology has always been a big part of the success of regional Australia. And as the power of technology increases, so too will the opportunities it can bring.

Andy Penn, CEO, Telstra

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