Mobile Black Spot Program receives $25m
The federal government will provide $25 million in funding to improve coverage in black spot areas across regional Australia.
This will be the fourth round of funding for the Mobile Black Spot Program, and the focus will be on driving improved outcomes for regional businesses and residents, tourism, health, education and emergency services.
Mobile network operators will have an opportunity in the second half of this year to apply for round four funding through a competitive tender process.
Input will also be sought from community organisations and state and local governments to ensure black spot locations that will provide strong economic benefits are considered.
“As a regional Australian myself, I’ve seen firsthand the benefits that reliable mobile connectivity can bring to our communities and how it enables them to fully participate in the digital world and contribute to Australia’s economic growth,” said Minister for Regional Communications Bridget McKenzie.
“The new round will call for applications from mobile carriers within the coming months, taking input from state, territory and local governments as well as businesses, community organisations and emergency services.
“The rollout of base stations under previous rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Program is over halfway complete, delivering benefits to hundreds of communities throughout Australia by connecting them to essential business, education and health services.”
To date, the government’s commitment to expanding mobile coverage has leveraged a total investment of more than $680 million, including funding from state and local governments and the mobile network operators.
“Under this new round of the program, the Coalition will improve phone coverage along transport routes, in small communities, as well as in areas with unique coverage issues such as tourism hotspots with seasonal demand,” said Liberal candidate for Braddon Brett Whitely.
Mobile base stations have been established in Temma, Gawler, Rocky Cape, Sisters Beach, Yolla, Elliot, Melrose, South Riana and Loyetea. Three more base stations around Yolla, Gunns Plains and Devonport are due to come online soon.
The program is on track to deliver 867 base stations nationwide by June 2019.
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