The Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia (BIRRR) Facebook group was created on 22nd October 2014. Kylie Stretton (Charters Towers, QLD) & Kristy Sparrow (Alpha, QLD) set up the group when they both noticed unexplained excessive usage on their mobile broadband data.
As Kristy struggled to deal with educating her children (via distance education) and both women dealt with very limited internet to run their businesses, they began to respond to media enquiries – and as others throughout rural Australia heard of the group and joined, it began to grow quickly.
With support and online action gathering momentum, BIRRR took to Twitter with the hashtag #fixbushinternet and #DataDrought. Kristen Stahlhut-Coggan (Condamine, QLD) & Amanda Salisbury (Monto, QLD) then joined our admin team in 2015 to help out. All our admins live the #datadrought on a daily basis, we are all volunteers (with two children each) and lead busy lives, including full time jobs and local community involvement.
We also welcomed Julie Stott (Oberon, NSW) to the BIRRR team in 2016, bringing with her a lot of experience dealing with internet issues at ground level.
We work with contacts in NBN, Telstra and other service providers, as well as government departments and will continue to advocate and lobby for #betterbushcomms until the broadband needs of rural Australians are met. We are supported by a team of fabulous volunteers, each with their own specialities, which makes BIRRR so successful.
The BIRRR team can be contacted at ~ firstname.lastname@example.org