Digital connectivity is an increasingly essential part of life not only for social connectedness but also for operating a business and accessing essential services such as healthcare and education. Often, navigating and successfully realising the benefits of connectivity can be more challenging for those who live in rural, regional and remote communities.
The telecommunications landscape continues to change, and it can be daunting to keep abreast of the latest technology let alone understand what terms such as spectrum, bandwidth and networks mean to us as individuals or our businesses. Something that we all need to be aware of is the upcoming closure of 3G services.
Vodafone have advised it will switch off its 3G network entirely in December this year, Telstra will follow in June 2024, and Optus in September 2024.
The 3G shutdown should only impact you if you still have a 3G-only phone. If you do, you will need to upgrade to a phone with 4G connectivity before 3G is shut down.
In addition to phones, there are other devices that may rely on 3G connectivity that will be impacted by the 3G shutdown. These could include security systems, medical alarms and EFTPOS machines. If you have a device that solely uses 3G to operate, we encourage you to proactively reach out to your supplier as soon as possible to discuss your options.
It was very pleasing to see recent announcements confirming funding for the Regional Tech Hub has been renewed in the form of a $6 million three-year investment under the federal government’s Better Connectivity Plan for Regional and Rural Australia.
The Regional Tech Hub is a valuable service that offers independent advice and support to help regional Australians assess and understand confusing phone and internet options, and technical issues. This initiative recognises the unique technological operating environment in regional Australia and helps to ensure that regional Australians are supported to maximise their connectivity.
The Hub provides independent information about available technologies, and assistance to navigate confusing troubleshooting processes. Support is available via their website, social media platforms and thankfully, through a good old fashioned phone support line as well.
More information about the phase out of 3G and what you need to do can be found here: https://www.telstra.com.au/support/mobiles-devices/3g-closure. You can also contact your Telco to ensure you are ready for the phase out of 3G and take the time to familiarise yourself with the Regional Tech Hub https://regionaltechhub.org.au/ to access support and get the most out of the connectivity options available to you.