Regional users are embracing online tech at a rapid pace

REGIONAL Australians are connecting to the internet like never before.

Country folk from Cape York to the Great Australian Bight, and everywhere in between, have embraced the digital revolution with aplomb.

An Australian Communications and Media Authority commissioned report has revealed regional Australians are increasingly using their mobile phone to go online more frequently regardless of where they live.

The 'Regional Australia in the Digital Economy' report, released on Friday, revealed that people who used their mobile phone to access the internet jumped significantly from 10% in 2009 to more than 46% in 2009.

It found one in three regional Australians used their mobile phone to connect to the internet in 2013 compared to only one in 20 in 2009.

Furthermore, the report found regional Australians were significantly diversifying their online activities to include email, research, banking, entertainment, blogging and social networking.

National Farmers Federation spokeswoman Hollie Baillieu said regional Australians understood they were in the mists of a digital economy and did not want to get left behind.

She said one of the major issues still facing regional Australia was mobile coverage.

"Telecommunications are more and more shaping the way we communicate, socialise and the way we do business," she said.

"But mobile coverage is the main concern for regional Australia at the moment."

Federal MP Paul Fletcher said the report highlighted the fact that mobile connectivity was an indispensable feature of everyday life for people living in rural and regional Australia.

He said the government was beginning to roll out its $100 million Mobile Black Spot initiative which will see between 250-300 new mobile base stations constructed around the nation.

"The message I keep hearing is that mobile connectivity is essential for business, education, tourism, emergency services and in response to natural disasters, particularly for people in small communities," he said.


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