Digital exclusion of rural Southland must not be ignored
Reliable connectivity, whether digital or mobile coverage, is a critical infrastructure must-have for rural communities in our Southland region that can no longer be ignored.
People living in isolated rural areas and without sufficient connectivity face becoming “digitally excluded” from society as modern lives move online. They face barriers to participating fully in society due to connectivity issues.
Their digital exclusion challenges include poor local internet services, no access to high-speed data and an inability to work and educate from home, or the ability to make an emergency call when needed.
With COVID and lockdowns, many more Government and other services have moved online.
As well as the increasing need for online transactions to pay taxes or bills or for grocery shopping, many have also turned to connecting socially online.
The inability for some to do so reliably serves to highlight just how deficient some areas in our region are of reliable connectivity infrastructure.
Every part of New Zealand should have quality connectivity and mobile coverage and that includes our Southland region.
Parliament will be debating the issue of digital exclusion and connectivity in the coming months, and I want to ensure our local community’s voices are heard.
With the future increasingly becoming digital, everyone must have the tools they need to be a part of our digital world.
We must take urgent action to uplift rural connectivity and ensure communities affected can get online and have sufficient mobile coverage.
Melissa Lee, List MP and National Spokesperson for Broadcasting & Media, Digital Economy and Communications, will be joining me at a Public Meeting to discuss broadband connectivity and mobile coverage issues in our region.
We would like to hear about people’s personal experiences and challenges with connectivity where they live.
We want to ensure our rural communities are not left behind when it comes to reliable connectivity and digital inclusion in our society. We hope you can join us and share your thoughts and ideas for solutions to the connectivity issues we face.
Information on the meeting can be found on my website at josephmooney.national.org.nz/events.
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