Broadband for the Bush

IRCA continues to advocate for fast, accessible, affordable and reliable telecommunications and ICT access for remote Indigenous communities. 

IRCA’s activities include:

  • Collating data on broadband and telecommunications infrastructure and access in remote Indigenous communities
  • Promoting the development of a Remote Communications Infrastructure Plan for remote Australia
  • Informing policy direction for remote area telecommunications
  • Keeping informed of best practice infrastructure opportunities particularly in relation to testing of WiFi mesh, mobile technologies and other technical solutions
  • Member of the Broadband for the Bush Alliance, undertaking projects and research with Alliance stakeholders.

Broadband for the Bush Alliance

IRCA is a member of the Broadband for the Bush (B4B) Alliance, a group of organisations that are committed to the digital inclusion of remote and rural Australia. The Alliance brings together a range of stakeholders with expertise in communications, remote service delivery, and community engagement.

For more information:
Visit the B4B website www.broadbandforthebush.com.au
Follow the B4B on Twitter @bushbroadband #bushbroadband
Like the B4B Facebook page www.facebook.com/broadbandforthebush

Broadband for the Bush Indigenous Focus Day

The Broadband for the Bush Indigenous Focus Day is an annual event hosted by IRCA and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN). It promotes digital inclusion projects and addresses the opportunities for, and obstacles to, the digital inclusion of remote Indigenous Australians and organisations. Participants help to develop recommendations for policy to advocate for increased connectivity for Indigenous Australians.

The Indigenous Focus Day came into being after participants in the Broadband for the Bush Forum perceived a need for a dedicated forum for Indigenous Australians to talk about their digital inclusion needs and challenges. The Indigenous Focus Day is an opportunity for Indigenous people to engage and collaborate with their peers. It is an interactive event, facilitated primarily by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations. 

Indigenous Focus Day 2016

State Library of Queensland, Brisbane QLD

The third Indigenous Focus Day saw 64 delegates from around Australia get together at the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane on 7 June 2016, as part of the fifth annual Broadband for the Bush Forum. Over the course of the day, which was facilitated by Heron Loban of Griffith Law School, delegates attended 16 presentations. This included memorable keynote addresses by the Honourable Leeanne Enoch, Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business, and Helen Milner, CEO of the Tinder Foundation.

The key themes to emerge from the day’s presentations were:

  • Remote Indigenous communities remain the most digitally excluded population in Australia
  • The major obstacles to connectivity are affordability and access, as well as cyber safety
  • The key to engagement is having locally relevant projects, content and applications
  • The focus should always be on people and relationships rather than technology 

  • Partnerships and knowledge sharing are key enablers 

  • Digital mentors are needed to increase skills and digital literacy in communities

Attendees were asked to distil their thinking into one big ‘ask’ or idea to put to policymakers.

The following are the three big ideas:

  1. Introduce a Universal Service Obligation underpinned by a set of principles (which are culturally appropriate and based on community need) to provide a minimum standard of internet connectivity in Australia, which will set Australia apart as a world leader in the digital innovation space. 

  2. Recognise that digital inclusion is a human right, and to build digital citizenship through free (unmetered) access for all Australians, however remote, to essential online services and the skills and support to access them (reinforcing the theme that it’s not about the technology, but rather about people). 

  3. Provide $60m to support Indigenous digital inclusion in 300 communities for two years. This funding would employ digital inclusion workers to provide training and technical support in media centres to build community capability and digitally empowered people.

Photos on our Flickr site here.

More information is available of the Broadband for the Bush website:

http://broadbandforthebush.com.au/indigenous-focus-day-2016/

This event was hosted by

This event was sponsored by

             

 

Indigenous Focus Day 2015

Charles Darwin University, Darwin NT

In 2015, the Indigenous Focus Day was hosted on 14 July in Darwin at the Charles Darwin University Casuarina campus’ stunning ACIKE Building. The event took place alongside the Broadband for the Bush Forum IV. It attracted 75 participants and focused on identifying the obstacles to digital inclusion and the opportunities that arise from being connected. The Day consisted of an opening address from Joe Morrison, CEO of Northern Land Council, some shorter presentations and facilitated breakout sessions.

Key themes explored were affordability, accessibility, awareness and appropriateness.

A summary of the key outcomes:

  • A dedicated community-driven strategy is needed to be developed to ensure digital inclusion of the most excluded group in Australia. One-size-fits-all models don’t work.
  • There are many opportunities of inclusion - jobs, enterprise, language and cultural development
  • Economic profiling is needed to provide evidence of the demand and benefits of inclusion
  • Community and cultural ownership are critical to local engagement
  • LTSS provides an opportunity, but needs to have last-mile distribution, skills development, relevant content and applications for greater inclusion.

The Indigenous Focus Day 2015 Communique can be found here:

http://broadbandforthebush.com.au/indigenous-focus-day-2015/

 

Indigenous Focus Day 2014

Desert People's Centre, Alice Springs NT

The first Indigenous Focus day took place in April 2014, the day prior to the third Broadband for the Bush Forum: Building a Better Digital Future. Facilitated by Heron Loban, delegates discussed the ‘goods’ and the ‘bads’ of internet access on their community particularly in relation to Facebook, strategies being employed by community organisations and the general strong engagement with digital technology occurring on the community. Delegates talked about ‘then and now’ stories of communications in their region, with one key story being that internet enabled mobile phone and small mobile devices is now more popular than personal computers, laptops or community access centres. The Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion attended in the afternoon and met with delegates.

A series of infographics were created by ACCAN, see here:

http://broadbandforthebush.com.au/infographics-indigenous-focus-group-day/