SOURCE: Activ8me


March 09, 2012 10:25 ET

Free Community Phones Changing Lives in Remotest Australia

Satellite, Fibre, and Wireless Broadband and Phone Provider Activ8me Working Under the Australian Government's Indigenous Communication Program Has Recently Completed the Installation of 18 Community Satellite Phones on Mornington Island in Northern Australia

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA--(Marketwire - Mar 9, 2012) - Communication via phone and internet has always been a challenge for the many rural and isolated communities common in Australia. Activ8me has been a frontrunner in providing the communications technology to remote locations, via wireless broadband, satellite internet, and satellite phones. Now the people of Mornington and the surrounding islands in the Wellesley Island Group will have access to free community satellite phones installed by Activ8me.

According to Allison Doyle, the spokesperson for the Mabunji Aboriginal Association, the phones are essential to the health and well being of the 400 people who live in this extremely remote area. The phones provide the isolated communities with freedom and connections to mainland Australia and overseas. The Roper Gulf District in particular has extreme and unpredictable weather patterns and the phones will undoubtedly save lives in the future.

The new community phones also allow these isolated communities to keep in touch with friends and family living in other parts of Australia. These are communications that most modern people now take for granted. However, before the installation of the new phones islanders found keeping in touch with relatives and friends both expensive and difficult. According to Ms. Doyle these phones "are a necessity for her region." In addition, unprepared tourists will also benefit from the phones during the dry season.

The Australian Indigenous Communications Program (ICP) commenced the installation of solar powered community satellite phones in May 2009. The expected completion of the ICP program is 2013 with the government committed to providing 300 phones to remote communities throughout Australia.

The community phones resemble standard public telephone boxes. However, the technology is innovative and extremely powerful with a self sustaining power supply that keeps the telephones ringing even in the rain.

According to Tony Bundrock, the CEO of Activ8me, "The new phones are very important to the people of these communities and they are excited to have them installed." Satellite phone installations are complicated and in most cases Activ8me works closely with the local community during installation. This provides short-term employment and boosts the local economies while also making the installations feasible.

Bundrock explains, "For example, we couldn't have completed the satellite phone installations on Kangaroo Island (NT) without the help of the Indigenous people. They provided boats, storage and labour. To show our deep appreciation for all their help we made a donation to the local crèche in Borroloola."

Phone calls to standard fixed telephone lines in Australia are completely free from the community phones and calls to mobile and international numbers are possible using a prepaid phone card.

Since 2009 more than 180,000 calls have been made using ICP satellite phones. There are now phone boxes from Goolargon, Broome in Western Australia to the Cape of York in Queensland supporting remote communities. Communities with 50 inhabitants or less may be eligible to receive a community satellite phone under the ICP program. Community representatives can inquire about eligibility and applying for a community satellite phone box by contacting:

The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Phone: 1-800-355-014

Activ8me, an NBN Internet Provider, has made it their mission to provide affordable communications to all the remote regions of Australia using the most advanced technology available.

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