Australia’s government announced AUD25 million ($19 million) for a new round of funding under a programme designed to improve mobile coverage in rural and remote regions.
Senator and minister for regional communications, Bridget McKenzie, said in a statement: “Hard to reach mobile black spots will soon be addressed under the Coalition’s plan to improve telecommunications in regional Australia.”
Reliable mobile coverage is taken for granted in the cities, but it’s a different story out in the regions. The Coalition is today announcing $25 million for a new round of funding under the Mobile Black Spot Program, making a real difference 📳📱#regionsmatter #regionalcomms pic.twitter.com/xbnG9dgHJG
— Senator Bridget McKenzie (@senbmckenzie) June 10, 2018
The Department of Communications and the Arts said in a statement more communities across regional and remote Australia will receive new or improved mobile coverage, under a fourth round of funding for the programme. The government’s commitment to expanding mobile coverage has involved a total investment of more than AUD680 million, including funding from state and local governments, and mobile operators.
Mobile operators will have an opportunity in the second half of the year to apply for round four funding through a competitive tender process. The programme is more than halfway towards delivering 867 base stations nationwide by June 2019.
The country’s largest mobile operator, Telstra, announced in March it deployed its 100th base station and expanded coverage to 50,000 square km under the programme, which was announced in June 2015. The government and operators invested AUD385 million in the first round to build 499 base stations in remote locations over three years.