The Indigenous Community Phones (ICP) Program assists remote communities to access public and life-line telecommunications services. EGF has been working with the Dept Communications and APN (Australian Private Networks) to rollout a solar and satellite operated unit that can also provide a modified internet service.
EGF was selected for a Consultants panel for the Indigenous Community Phones Program (ICP) by DBCDE in 2008 to undertake field assessments and community-based liaison for delivery of public telephones to remote homeland communities in Northern Australia. Developed by Australian Private Networks (APN) for the DBCDE, the telephones are solar powered with a satellite communication system and most calls are free and untimed, making them perfect for remote conditions.
To date EGF has undertaken community consultancies in Western and Central Arnhem Land, Croker and the Goulburn Islands in the NT, Mornington Island in QLD and the APY lands in SA. Over the period of engagement, 110 phones have been installed to homelands ranging from 2 to 30 or more people. There is no cost to the community and once installed, they become a community asset.
In August 2012, six homelands were selected to trial a free WiFi connection to these phones, with 20GB of data. EGF assisted install logistics and deivered basic internet training for community and homeland residents in 3 of the 6 communities during the trial. The trial was evaluated in May-June 2013 with generally positive uptake, but also identified potential issues. As a result of the evaluation EGF has accepted further contracts assist the WiFi rollout to over 150 communities in Arnhemland and APY lands, SA 2013-15.
EGF has been providing community development and cultural liaison services to the Australian Dep't of Communications for more than 10 years, including: Networking the Nation programs to facilitate delivery of telecommunications infrastructure to remote communities (2003-05); the Community Phones Program (2004-07); as Regional Agents to the Backing Indigenous Ability Program (2007-2009); as Community Liaison Officers to the Indigenous Community Phones Program (2009-current); as remote Community Liaison to Digital TV Switchover Taskforce (2011-current).