November 10, 2023
Nationals Leader David Littleproud has called for mandated domestic mobile roaming in regional, rural and remote Australia in the wake of the Optus outage.
The 13-hour outage, which occurred on Thursday, was the longest and largest in recent memory and has prompted several Federal Government enquiries.
Mr Littleproud said the outage underlined the need to introduce mandated mobile roaming, by firstly piloting in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia, while broader capacity in the network could be built up.
“We must ensure the outage that occurred with Optus never happens again,” Mr Littleproud said.
“We need a common sense approach to this problem.
“By starting mobile roaming in regional, rural and remote areas we can target it in the areas of greatest need, while potential pressures of roaming on metropolitan network capacity can be worked through before rolling out in the densely populated capital cities.
“The urgency for the regions is the tyranny of distance we face and the threat of natural disaster emergencies such as the upcoming bushfire season.”
Mr Littleproud said Australia doesn’t even allow for emergency mobile roaming (although it does allow for emergency calls to 000) which was a significant safety issue in regional areas.
“The ACCC recently completed an inquiry into regional mobile infrastructure and found that emergency mobile roaming is beneficial during times of natural disasters or other emergencies.
“The Communications Minister and Emergency Management Minister have both tasked their respective departments to work with carriers and report back to the government by March 2024.”