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 promote the #DataDrought 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 ~ birrraus@gmail.com

4 thoughts on “ABOUT

  1. One data saving tip is to use “lite” versions of Apps on mobile devices, use the mobile versions of applications and of web pages on a laptop and desktop computers. Applications and web pages designed for mobile devices tend to use the Internet more efficiently.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good advice Tom,
      As rural broadband users are often connecting via 3G or 4G, data usage is a still a big concern.
      Data can be saved by changing the automatic update settings for many applications. Set the updates to “Manual” or “Notify but dont download”. Updates are very important, so be careful if changing the settings.
      Virus and malware scanners such as AVG, Avast! or Malwarebytes often have the automatic updates set to hourly by default.
      Whilst it is important to have the latest virus/malware definitions installed, you may like to set these to daily or weekly instead.
      Maybe adjust the automatic update setting for Windows Update and your browser/email clients such as Firefox, Google Chrome, Mozilla Thunderbird etc. and Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader etc.to “Notify but dont download”. Then choose to update at the end of your monthly data period if any is left.Also look at the update settings any other programs installed.

      A lot of webpages load advertising and ad tracker cookies to your system. As you browse the web, many images and text of no interest, will be downloading and using up data. In Windows you can block many of these by definitions in the HOSTS file.
      Not for the novice, but, one of many lists here: http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ but the list gets longer as more adverts and tracking sites are discovered.


  2. Hi Kristy and Alex, I saw Alex on Landline last night and would like to offer to help with getting your cattle-forms etc submitted, in any way you can work out. I am a semi-retired computer technician in Perth Western Australia. I don’t know the logistics of your situation, but for example, perhaps you could email (or snail-mail) details to me and I could do the form submissions. I expect you would need to trust me to use systems on your behalf and be accurate. Accuracy is my business (I recently set up and operated a book-keeping system for a relative’s Bali resort project). If needed I could give you references to my integrity from a wide range of people including church members. I am reasonably comfortably off, and you would only need pay me whatever you decide if one day you feel that I have solved a problem for you. The fun is in solving a problem and making the world work better. If you still have problems with internet and want to work out if I could help please email me at johnjarvis@iinet.net.au. My phone numbers are 0421 855 466 and 08 9297 4277, but given the quality of phone lines I prefer email.
    best regards
    John Jarvis


  3. Just a note. There are NO ISP’s who are confirmed providors of the LTSS. Skymesh, Harbour, Activ8 are not as yet providors of the service at this point in time. Beware the spin. No ISP has yet on boarded to NBN for the LTSS


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