We’re ramping up our support for customers in regional and outer metro areas through our new Connected Communities program. This means more on-the-ground advocates and network experts to help solve complex local issues.

Every regional, rural and remote community in Australia is unique, and we understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach – whatever our customers’ needs are, we are committed to meeting them.

Creating customer advocates across regional Australia

To this end, we will double the number of locally-based Regional Engagement Managers and triple the number of Regional Network Advisors we employ around the country. These members of the Telstra team will work closely with the communities they are embedded in, acting as advocates within our business for the customers they support.

Our network advisors will be equipped with the latest digital tools that support all the technologies our network uses, helping them diagnose and understand connectivity issues at a local level. They will work with their communities to improve customers’ experiences – providing information about network coverage and performance, management of any planned and unplanned outages, and building digital literacy and capability.

We’ll triple our annual investment in community engagement activities like field days and fetes and our support for organisations like local chambers of commerce and business or volunteer groups.

For the first time, we’ll also appoint a Remote Community Advocate responsible for monitoring the performance of our network in Australia’s remote communities each day, keeping those communities up to date with any outages and recovery times, and working to respond to their needs. They’ll also join a new Telstra Customer Advocate Council alongside our Chief Customer Advocate, Chief First Nations Advocate and Chief Regional Advocate, with the council reporting directly to the CEO.

Ramping up our support for regional communities

There’s a lot more we’re doing for regional Australia through our Connected Communities program. We’ll triple our annual investment in community engagement, supporting organisations like local chambers of commerce and local network groups. We’ll also collaborate with NBN local to address digital inclusion and partner on emergency response, with a focus on preparedness.

This comes on top of other recent steps we’ve taken, including bringing customer service voice calls back home by the end of June this year and bringing all local retail stores back under Telstra ownership to give customers a better in-store experience. We’re also training more customer service agents specifically on regional connectivity so they can assist our customers that are located more than 100km from a Telstra store.

We’re continuing to invest in growing and maintaining our regional network. Over the five years to June 2021, we’ve invested $3 billion in mobile and $1.3 billion in fixed networks across regional Australia. We’ve also committed $200 million for co-investments with government to improve regional connectivity. And we’re expanding 4G and 5G coverage by 100,000km2 by June 2025.

We know that there’s a growing need for connectivity all across the country, and that this need will just keep growing. We’re working to build this infrastructure and provide the support that enables all Australians can keep pace with the evolving digital economy – no matter where they live and work.