Peri-Urban Mobile Program Round 2 now open for applications


Tuesday, 30 January, 2024

Peri-Urban Mobile Program Round 2 now open for applications

Communities on the fringes of major urban centres in bushfire-prone areas are set to share in $20 million in investment to upgrade mobile coverage, with Round 2 of the Australian Government’s Peri-Urban Mobile Program (PUMP) now open for applications.

The peri-urban fringe is where the bush meets the suburbs, creating bushfire risks for those living and working in these areas. Communities in many of these areas have generally been underserved because of the high cost of deploying infrastructure, difficult terrain, planning challenges and lower population densities.

The second round of PUMP will provide grant funding to mobile network operators (MNO) and mobile network infrastructure providers to deliver new or upgraded mobile phone infrastructure that targets longstanding mobile coverage and reception issues in these areas. As with the previous round of the program, infrastructure sharing will be encouraged to ensure the benefits of the funding flows as widely as possibly amongst communities.

Round 2 also responds to feedback from communities that weren’t eligible for the limited scope of PUMP in the past. Eligible areas under the latest round have been expanded to include major regional cities like Geelong, the Gold Coast and Newcastle, along with the peri-urban edges of major capital cities.

A project noticeboard has been established to help local councils and community groups identify mobile coverage and quality of service issues in their area to assist telcos develop new infrastructure proposals for the round. The noticeboard will be open until applications close on 18 March 2024.

“Having access to reliable coverage is an essential part of modern life,” said Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland. “That’s why the Albanese government is committed to improving mobile coverage across Australia, including along our peri-urban fringes, to ensure local communities can stay in touch and receive information when they need it most.

“I encourage telcos, communities and other interested parties to work together to submit applications that will deliver new or improved mobile coverage in these areas.”

MNOs and mobile network infrastructure providers can apply for the program at www.grants.gov.au. For more information, visit www.infrastructure.gov.au/pump.

Image credit: iStock.com/InSydeMedia

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