Can you imagine life without a phone? For those of us living in metropolitan Australia, communication has been a big part of our daily life. We’ve got home phones and mobile phones, you’re probably checking for texts or missed calls several times a day and making sure your battery life is topped up.
Who wouldn’t feel uneasy knowing your phone could run out of battery any minute, right?
However, for those living in remote areas and islands around Australia, having no access to basic telecommunications services, such as difficulty or unable to contact emergency medical assistance, government services and not being able to contact relatives and friends when needed has been an every day struggle.
The Indigenous Communications Program (ICP) is a $31 million initiative began in 2009-2010 and should carry on over the next four years. The program endeavours to help improve communication services in remote Indigenous communities by providing basic telephone services, public internet access facilities and proper computer training.
The purpose? To provide:
- a fixed or mobile satellite community telephone to around 300 remote Indigenous communities that currently do not have access to a public telephone
- ongoing maintenance of around 550 Indigenous community telephones, comprising around 300 new phones and 250 existing phones, and;
- greater public internet access and delivery of computer training in up to 100 remote Indigenous communities that have limited or no public access internet facilities.
Activ8me developed the satellite community phone technology, and installed the units at locations of need, as identified by the Australian Government’s Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE).
These innovative phones are powered by solar energy and utilise a powerful satellite connection. Calls to all fixed phones in Australia are completely free.
A standard prepaid phone card is used for mobile calls, international and 13 numbers. At last count more than 350,000 calls have been made using community phones.
In June 2013, DBCDE announced that Activ8me will provide the ongoing maintenance for 300 solar-powered satellite community telephone booths over the next two years.
For more information on the Indigenous Communications Program please visit https://www.activ8me.net.au/about/icp