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 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 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. Julie is an expert at desk checks to help end users find an internet connection that best meets their needs.
In 2018 we added Claire Butler (Clare, NSW) to our team.
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 and communication needs of rural Australians are met. Along the way BIRRR has gathered industry professionals and tech experts, data analysts, website designers and a variety of members who have devoted time in assisting us. We are very grateful to be supported by a team of fabulous volunteers, each with their own specialities, which makes BIRRR so successful. Not forgetting our growing membership base who have contributed with ideas, case studies, experience, discussion and even helped us with crowdfunding to continue our advocacy work.
BIRRR is a founding member of the Rural, Regional & Remote Communications Coalition
The BIRRR team can be contacted at ~ firstname.lastname@example.org