A birds-eye view of the new NBN tower in Wallangarra. Photo contributed
A birds-eye view of the new NBN tower in Wallangarra. Photo contributed Photo contributed

NBN is needed in regional Australia, and now

CLAIRE Kapernick and her family live 30km outside Murgon, yet she said most people in the town had no idea just how bad bush internet is.

"It's frustrating because people don't know," Mrs Kapernick said.

"Our only real option for internet at the moment is mobile broadband which is ridiculously expensive."

Mrs Kapernick, a beef and lucerne farmer in Cloyna, said until the past month she paid $59.95 a month for eight gigabytes of data.

"My brother lives in Brisbane and pays just $69.95 for 250 gigabytes a month," she said.

The farmer and mother of four, who has two daughters in high school, said the only way the family could facilitate the girls' educational demands from home was by hiring laptops for $90 a month each which came with two gigabytes of data.

Residents like the Kapernicks are desperate for the NBN rollout as they say it's their only hope of bridging the enormous disparity in internet coverage, cost and quality between the country and the city.

"They keep saying the NBN is going to fix it all, but when?" Mrs Kapernick said.

"We're pretty much just sitting here waiting for NBN. "I don't think (the LNP Government) see it as a priority. We're very much in the dark."

Through social media, Mrs Kapernick said she made contact with other residents across regional Australia experiencing the ongoing frustration with rural internet.

It wasn't long before she founded Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia (BIRRR), a group set up by Kristy Sparrow, also a farmer and mother in remote Queensland.

"Kristy is amazing," Mrs Kapernick said. "I've never even spoken to her other than on Twitter and Facebook but the things she's done.

"Some politicians were out visiting her area and she got some them to come and sit in on a School of the Air lesson to see just how bad things were and the way (the internet) kept dropping out."

Mrs Kapernick said her other supporters of BIRR were horrified last week with the announcement of a new Minister for Communications and Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister for Communications.

"Kristy had laid a foundation with Paul Fletcher (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Communications).

He knew the situation, and now we're back to square one," she said. Mrs Kapernick said the more the world moved towards an online society, the more people in the bush were being left behind.

"There's so many technological advances, but if you don't have the internet, it doesn't matter."

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