Telecommunication & Digital Connectivity


Western Downs Regional Council advocates for increased connectivity in the region.

Fast and reliable mobile and internet services are vital to ensure a strong and diverse economy and to assist in ensuring quality lifestyle for the community.


Whilst there are pockets of strong connectivity within our area, the Western Downs region has significant gaps in internet and mobile coverage that impact on business continuity, profitability and viability in areas outside of town centres. Several notable coverage blackspots exist throughout the region.

The Issue

Many telecommunication providers will only increase coverage when demand justifies cost, which is an issue for Local Governments that cover a large area with a small, low density population base. This particularly impacts widespread agricultural land.

Agribusinesses experience issues with reliability, speed and strength of connectivity and are therefore limited or unable to utilise contemporary technology reliant on connectivity. Technological advances in virtual fencing, drones, animal tracking devices, water monitoring, livestock welfare, feed management and other automated technology and GPS tracking would significantly improve business' ability to remain competitive.

Economic modelling from the Accelerating Precision Agriculture to Decision Agriculture project(PDF, 9MB) indicates that "digital agriculture could increase the gross value of Australian agricultural production by $20.3 billion, (25% increase)." The greatest gains are expected to come from automation, better tailoring of inputs such as fertilizer and seed, and environmental benefits such as efficiencies in water and pest management."

A major issue of concern with these low- to no-coverage areas is that mobile phone networks are unavailable for use in emergency situations and disaster events. As events like these rely on fast communication, the lack of connectivity and telecommunications causes a very high risk.

The expectation of having equitable access to quality digital connectivity has become a standard requirement in Australia as many aspects of life turn to digital solutions including education access and social, health and critical services.

Desired Outcome

To improve the availability and standard of connectivity and telecommunications in the Western Downs, coverage areas and telecommunications towers need to be increased.

Allowing the region’s billion-dollar agricultural sector to have access to fast and reliable connectivity will enable businesses to implement digital solutions to remain competitive and feed more into Australia’s economy. 

Enhanced connectivity will also greatly benefit the ever-expanding tourism industry as a number of tourism operators reside in idyllic locations outside of the main town centres and allow regional communities to support the influx of users on the network during large scale events.

With internet and mobile access playing a vital part of economic growth across Australia, the Western parts of our region will benefit greatly with increased connectivity and coverage. This will provide significant aid in emergency situations and present greater opportunities for our largest industries (such as agricultural production).