Reliable mobile coverage is set to reach thousands more Australians in regional and remote areas with the Liberal and Nationals Government today announcing an additional $160 million for two new funding rounds of the highly successful Mobile Black Spot Program.
These two new pre-Budget funding rounds brings the Liberal and Nationals Government’s total program commitment to $380 million.
Minister for Regional Services and Deputy Leader Senator Bridget McKenzie said the announcement will boost the program, addressing connectivity issues for many more communities who have been calling out for better coverage.
“I am thrilled to announce a further two rounds of our highly successful Mobile Black Spot Program, which has already switched on 682 base stations nationally,” said Minister McKenzie.
“Rounds 5 and 6 will have a strong focus on improving mobile coverage in our regions at Public Interest Premises which benefit the community such as medical facilities, schools and economic centres.
“Only a Liberals and Nationals Government remains focused on delivering better mobile coverage to regional and remote Australians. The Mobile Black Spot Program is connecting our communities to online services, reducing the tyranny of distance for our businesses and helping people communicate when travelling in remote areas.
“Fast and reliable connectivity is essential to ensure regional areas remain competitive with access to the same business and study opportunities as the rest of Australia. We’re ensuring our regions are not left behind.
“All stakeholders are strongly encouraged to submit an application when we open the tender process and take advantage of the additional rounds under this fantastic program.”
The new rounds follow the announcement of successful Round 4 applications, which will deliver a total of 180 new base stations. This includes 73 base stations which will specifically target coverage issues at Public Interest Premises.
So far, the Mobile Black Spot Program is delivering 1047 new base stations, generating over $760 million of new investment in mobile infrastructure including contributions from state and local governments, mobile network operators, businesses and community organisations.
“Unfortunately, Labor have no interest in regional Australia, demonstrated by their lack of policy to address mobile black spots,” Minister McKenzie said.
“Labor have promised to release details of their policy before the next election but so far – and with less than 8 weeks before an expected election – we’ve heard nothing but radio silence.”
Base stations under the first three rounds are expected to be operational by 30 June 2019. Round 4 base stations are expected to rollout shortly with the first new base stations being activated by the second half of the year.
More information about the Mobile Black Spot Program can be found at: www.communications.gov.au/mbsp