Minister for Regional Services, Senator Bridget McKenzie has congratulated Telstra as it switches on its 500th Mobile base station as part of the Coalition Government’s $220 million Mobile Black Spot Program.
Telstra switched on the new base station at a launch event in Clarence, New South Wales, a small town surrounded by cliffs and dense bushland to the west of the Blue Mountains.
Minister McKenzie said Clarence was just one of the hundreds of towns across Australia to benefit from the Government’s commitment to improve mobile coverage in the regions.
“The local community which identified the mobile phone blackspot in the past is now receiving new and improved coverage that will help locals stay in touch with friends and family, and do business,” Minister McKenzie said.
“Every time a new base station is switched on, we are helping more regional Australians connect with family, friends, and the services they need.”
“Having access to reliable 21st century telecommunications is essential for participation in economic and commercial activities. This is no less true for those living in regional Australia, and the Liberal and National Government is delivering real outcomes for regional Australians.”
The Program has funded a total of 867 new base stations under the first three rounds. This represents a total new investment of over $680 million into regional telecommunications including co‑contributions from the mobile carriers, state and local governments, as well as businesses and community organisations.
With the first three rounds well on the way to be complete by June 2019, the Government has announced it has allocated $25 million of the Program’s funding to a fourth round.
“Mobile coverage and digital connectivity can change a region. From Telehealth to better coverage for our emergency services, this Government’s $220 million Mobile Black Spot Program is helping keep regional Australians safe, connected and competitive,” Minister McKenzie said.
“I’m determined to get to 1000 base stations from this program and will be considering what more we can do to support the further growth of regional telecommunications infrastructure.
To support Round 4, the Government has recently re-opened the National Mobile Black Spot Database and is calling for nominations from local, state and territory governments, Federal Senators and Federal Members of Parliament.
The Database closes on 11 October 2018. The competitive assessment process for round 4 is expected to commence later this year.