Children with vision and hearing loss to benefit from NBN upgrade.

RIDBC consultant in a session with a family via videoconference.NBN Co upgrade means that families in regional and rural Australia will receive a faster, more reliable and cost-effective service through RIDBC Teleschool.

Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) welcomes the announcement today from NBN Co that broadband speeds will be doubled in rural and regional Australia as early as June this year.

NBN Co announced today that fixed wireless and long term satellite services will be upgraded to provide broadband speeds of 25 megabits per second download and 5 megabits per second upload (25/5 Mbps). This is great news for the 7% of the population that won’t be able to access the NBN.

Through RIDBC Teleschool, RIDBC has reached hundreds of children with vision or hearing loss across Australia via high quality in-home videoconferencing since 2002.

“Faster broadband speeds in regional and rural Australia mean that specialist education and therapy services delivered via videoconference will far more reliable, extensive and cost effective - comparable to those delivered in metropolitan areas,” said RIDBC Director of Educational Services, Melissa McCarthy.

Children with hearing or vision loss require consistent, quality, early intervention to achieve the best outcomes – whether they are learning to listen and speak with the aid of a cochlear implant or learning braille to ensure success at a mainstream school.

“In such a vast country, families who have a child with a disability can feel isolated not only from service providers but from other families who share similar challenges. The Government’s investment in improved infrastructure can help overcome this isolation and help RIDBC reach more families than ever before,” said Ms McCarthy.

“RIDBC Teleschool aims to provide the same level of support as in-person consultations. We are delighted with the announcement today and we are sure it will lead to even better outcomes for children and families living in regional and rural Australia.”

RIDBC is Australia’s largest provider of services for children with hearing or vision loss, assisting thousands of children a year across Australia.  As Australia’s premier provider of training and education for professionals in the field of sensory disability, RIDBC ensures that services delivered throughout government and non-government organisations remains cutting-edge.

RIDBC relies heavily on fundraising and community support to be able to continue to make a difference in children's lives.  In order to maintain its intensive educational and research programs, the organisation needs to raise approximately $2.5 million every month.