Boost for regional mobile coverage

A $20.5 million Federal Government commitment to deliver 67 additional base station projects in the bush is a step in the right direction to improve connectivity.

Announced by the Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education, Bridget McKenzie, the next chapter in the Mobile Black Spot Program includes 30 Macro cell and Small cell base stations projects in NSW.

The Mobile Black Spot program was established to improve regional connectivity and is a co-contribution model with state and local governments, mobile network operators, businesses and local communities.

“Farmers need certainty of voice and data services as the agriculture sector leverages technology to improve food and fibre production and reach $30 billion in output by 2030,” NSW Farmers President James Jackson said.

“Rural and remote communities need certainty of connectivity to keep safe and undertake business transactions and that is why all 30 of these projects are important.”

“Visitors to Western NSW need certainty of coverage while travelling. That’s why the planning for 4 macro cell base stations on the Barrier Highway between Broken Hill and Nyngan is critical for visitors and locals alike.”

While the projects announced last week are welcome, Mr Jackson said there are many farmers across the State still in mobile blackspots.

“We had 870 regional, rural and remote residents respond to our recent telecommunications survey. Over 78% were either unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with their mobile service identifying poor coverage and lack of continuous access during voice calls as their major concerns.”

“The Federal Minister’s announcement is an important step toward expanded and improved mobile coverage and connectivity. We also call on Government and telecommunications providers to continue to listen to, and work closely with, mobile users to ensure they can best access technology improvements as they roll out. This includes ensuring certainty of ongoing funding for the Regional Tech Hub Service and expanding opportunities for shared access to infrastructure.”

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