Still loading... Staring at the hour glass

Reliable and affordable internet on our farms is a continual issue which is impacting not only businesses, but children attempting to learn through distance education and farmers attempting to open and pay invoices.

Kristy Sparrow, from Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia, has launched the group's webpage - hoping to link struggling farmers with information and suggestions on how to deal with capped data.

Ms Sparrow, who lives 60km north of Alpha, said they paid $125 a month for 25GB of mobile broadband - which was capped, meaning they could not access any more than that even if they wanted to pay for it.

"I have twins who are at boarding school but last year we were trying to do distance education from home, which was near impossible," Ms Sparrow said.

"When you look at the comparison to someone living in Alpha with 500GB for less than what we pay for 25GB, it just doesn't make sense.

"The drought has fantastic mental health services that can be accessed online, but no one has enough data to use them.

"There are communities that can't communicate with telehealth - the telehealth system in Birdsville wasn't working and I know a woman who had to go to Toowoomba for a five-minute consultation because the telehealth was down."

Emerald cotton farmer Hamish Millar has been battling to get the NBN connected at local farm Jabiwarra.

After a "false start" on getting the NBN connected, Mr Millar said he was "worn out".

"We are still left with the same situation that we were - it's diabolical sometimes during the day," he said.

"It has probably worn me out... we've just kind of adjusted the business to deal with it now.

"We've actually considered relocating the office into town, that's how bad it is, that if we can't get things done, we may have to consider that."

Mr Millar said with multiple users trying to access the same struggling network, attempts could be "very frustrating".

"So we've got multiple users so any large files, PDF files and those sort of things are a no-brainer - you don't touch them unless you absolutely have to," he said.

"Internet banking, running the finance - it's more probably the lack of productivity it's just a challenge.

"You sit there and you stare at an hour glass before you can get to the next page for five minutes.

"As the crow flies, we're only about 13km from town, 20km by the road."

Ms Sparrow said the website, http://birrraus.com, had resources to help anyone who was struggling to stay connected to the internet.


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