REGIONAL Australia is paying $100 million in unnecessary phone premiums every year, an Albury conference heard yesterday.
Albury-Wodonga is one of many regional centres being encouraged to speak out for greater competitiveness in the telecommunications industry.
Vodafone’s General Manager of Industry Strategy and Public Policy Matthew Lobb said the Border should be pushing for both coverage and choice.
He said an independent survey of 1000 regional Australians revealed 83 per cent of people agreed being able to choose their mobile provider was important.
“Fundamentally, regional Australia is getting ripped off because of the lack of choice for consumers,” he said.
“Although we have increased our regional coverage by 40 per cent in the past three years, we have a problem where there is a virtual monopoly.”
“Telstra has one million square kilometres more coverage than its nearest rival and what that results in is consumers missing out on better deals.”
About 220 people turned out for the Australian Regional Development Conference at the Commercial Club.
Telstra charges the rest of the industry for those backhaul services and Mr Lobb said people should lobby about getting Telstra to lower the cost.