TIO report affirms Albanese Government’s Better Connectivity Plan

The Albanese Government has reiterated its commitment to improve mobile coverage across Australia following the release of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s (TIO) Annual Report today.

The report shows that while the total number of complaints received by the TIO decreased considerably, complaints about mobile services increased as a proportion of total complaints – up from 32.7 per cent in 2020-21 to 39.7 per cent in 2021-22.

This is because while complaints about other services dropped, poor mobile coverage complaints increased 6.3 per cent over the reporting period. Complaints about mobile coverage featured most strongly in data from Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.

The results reinforce the need for the mobile network operators to do more to improve mobile coverage, to deal with customer complaints more effectively, and to ensure that their public coverage maps are realistic and accurate. The Albanese Government’s Better Connectivity Plan will also play its part in meeting strong consumer interest in reliable mobile services across the country – particularly in regional, rural and remote areas.

The Plan includes $400 million in funding to boost mobile coverage on regional roads, and improved mobile coverage in rural and remote communities that are currently underserved. The Government has also committed $200 million towards place-based connectivity projects for regional and rural areas.

The Government will extend the Regional Tech Hub, a platform serving as a trusted source of free and independent advice for regional Australians on technology, and has committed to an independent audit of mobile coverage to better identify black spots and guide investment priorities.

The Albanese Government is also giving the industry continuity and certainty through continuing the roll-out of projects through programs like the Mobile Black Spot Program and Regional Connectivity Program, which are addressing coverage gaps and digital connectivity nationwide.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:

“In 2022, access to reliable mobile coverage isn’t a luxury – it’s essential for Australians to remain connected and for businesses to serve their customers.

 “Our Better Connectivity Plan is a priority for the Albanese Government. Our Plan will make serious inroads to improving mobile coverage, not just through the delivery of local projects, but also through the independent national audit of mobile coverage to allow the Government, telcos, and industry to make high-impact investment decisions.

“I’ll keep working with local communities, telcos, and industry to understand coverage barriers having detrimental impacts on Australians to find practical solutions that improve their quality of life.”