Connectivity and digital inclusion in Far North Queensland's agricultural communities: Policy-focused report
By Amber Marshall, Allan Dale, Hurriyet Babacan and Michael Dezuanni
Internet connectivity is essential for prosperity and development in all societies. This policy-focused report is the culmination of a qualitative study of digital connectivity and telecommunications in rural Far North Queensland (FNQ). In particular, the research investigated the lived experience of digital inclusion – a combination of internet access, affordability of technology, and digital ability - in agricultural households and communities the Northern Gulf region. The Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) shows that North West Queensland (which takes in the Gulf Savannah) is one of Australia’s least digitally included regions. The ADII further suggests that farmers and farm managers tend to score more poorly in the Index than others in comparable circumstances, particularly on the digital ability sub-index. This research aimed to unpack how these quantitative insights ‘play out’ in the context of rural FNQ, thereby shedding light on the nuanced and context-specific factors that impact digital participation of farming households and communities.