Round 4 open for Mobile Black Spot Program

Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Round 4 open for Mobile Black Spot Program

Regional Australians will receive expanded mobile coverage as Round 4 of the federal government’s Mobile Black Spot Program opens.

Greater access to mobile services in regional Australia improve the ability to keep in contact with family and friends; allow better access by farmers to online services; and help local businesses grow by making these areas more attractive to tourists.

Under the latest round, mobile network operators and infrastructure providers are encouraged to apply to deliver coverage to further eliminate mobile black spots in the regions.

The government announced earlier this year $25 million in Commonwealth funding for Round 4 of the program, to deliver more coverage to regional and remote communities across Australia.

Minister for Regional Services Bridget McKenzie said this is another important step forward for the program, which is already providing new and improved coverage to thousands of homes and businesses across Australia. Round 4 will include public interest premises (PIPs). PIPs include economic centres, emergency service facilities, local government facilities, health and educational facilities, Indigenous community organisations and not-for-profit organisations.

“This milestone reaffirms this government’s commitment to delivering 21st-century communications for our regions. It’s fantastic to see that our program has already helped improve the lives of so many. Mobile coverage is no longer just nice to have — it’s essential. People in regional areas should not be left behind,” McKenzie said.

“The 867 base stations we’re delivering under the first three rounds of the program are making a real difference to so many communities, families and businesses across Australia, helping them to access the services they need.”

To date, the program has been highly successful, generating more than $680 million of new investment in mobile infrastructure including contributions from state and local governments, mobile network operators, businesses and local communities.

“I urge mobile network operators and infrastructure providers to apply and encourage all levels of government, community organisations and businesses to get on board,” McKenzie said.

To support Round 4, the government recently reopened the National Mobile Black Spot Database for nominations from local, state and territory governments and federal senators and federal members of parliament. The database closed on 11 October 2018, although locations not on the database can still be funded.

Applications will be assessed through a competitive process conducted by the Department of Communications and the Arts.

The application period for Round 4 closes on 10 December 2018 at 5.00 pm AEDT.

Image credit: © Roth

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