Posted to the Ethnos Project by on September 4th, 2011

Executive Summary

Research to date shows that many remote Indigenous communities have little access to the internet and make little use of it. The Indigenous population living in remote and very remote parts of Australia comprises 108,143 people, or 0.54% of the total Australian population (ABS 2006a). In central Australia, where this study took place, Indigenous households are 76 percent less likely to have internet access than non-Indigenous metropolitan households. Though the size of the broadband market in remote Indigenous communities may be miniscule in comparison with the national market, it is an important and evolving element in relation to social policy, the provision of basic communication needs, and the cultural prerogative of Indigenous people to live on their traditional lands.

This report outlines the reasons for the low level of internet take-up, and considers the future prospects for ‘home internet’ in these communities, that is, the use of computers and internet access in the home.

The report documents the circumstances and experiences of 3 remote Indigenous communities in central Australia: Kwale Kwale, Imangara and Mungalawurru. Residents in these communities provided significant insight into the social, economic and cultural aspects of communications access and use. This important evidence is used in the report to examine the drivers and barriers to home internet for remote communities. The report also discusses existing policy approaches to internet access, with a focus on the relationship between communications policy and broader social policies. We have included recommendations to achieve more available, accessible and affordable communications that enhance the lives of remote Indigenous communities.

This report is based on fieldwork undertaken from August 2010 to February 2011 by researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, the Centre for Appropriate Technology and the Central Land Council. The research method was primarily qualitative, involving 48 semi-structured interviews, observations and community meetings in the three communities. The project was conducted with the full consent of the Traditional Owners in each community and with full ethical approval in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research.

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This work is copyright, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. You are free to cite, copy, communicate and adapt this work, so long as you attribute the “ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, supported by a grant from the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network”. To view a copy of this license, visit

This work can be cited as: Rennie, E, Crouch, A, Wright, A & Thomas, J 2011, Home Internet for Remote Indigenous Communities, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Sydney

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