Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

Senator the Hon Fiona Nash

Minister for Regional Communications

Deputy Leader of the Nationals

The rain has begun

22 December 2016

The drought is breaking and the rain has long since begun.

That’s the message from Minister for Regional Communications Fiona Nash as Australia’s NBN continues to roll out in rural, regional and remote Australia and the Coalition Government partners with telecommunications companies to build 765 new mobile phone towers.

“Hundreds of thousands of rural, regional and remote Australians are now experiencing the benefits of broadband,” Minister Nash said.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day and obviously we can’t click our fingers and connect all 24 million Australians to broadband overnight. Under the Coalition, every Australian will have access to broadband by 2020. This is six years faster than many would have received NBN under Labor.

“We now have over 50,000 connections on the Sky Muster satellite, which delivers broadband to people who would never receive it any other way. Sky Muster delivers speeds of up to 25 megabits a second upload and 5 megabits a second download. High definition Netflix or high definition teleconferencing requires around 5 megabits a second.

“People in mountains and valleys in remote Australia who would never receive broadband from a tower or underground cable have written to express their gratitude for the NBN Sky Muster satellite. They tell me they don’t care how their broadband is delivered, so long as it works.

“Some 152,000 people are now connected to the fixed wireless network, which delivers speeds of up to 50 megabits a second download and 20 megabits a second upload.

“Some 70 per cent of the NBN roll out so far completed has been in regional Australia, and NBN Co has created a dedicated team in their call centre to deal with rural, regional and remote issues.

“The Coalition is also rolling out new mobile phone coverage to 31,000 homes and businesses across 86,000 square kilometres through 765 new mobile phone towers.

“The Coalition is expanding mobile phone coverage into areas which never had it before. We’re doing this through the $220 million Mobile Black Spots Program, which sees telecommunications companies compete against each other to deliver new towers to rural, regional and remote Australia. The first two rounds of the program are eliminating 4400 black spots across the nation.

“Obviously the Government does not own the telecommunications companies and as Australia is not a dictatorship, we can’t order private businesses to build mobile towers in every corner of the nation. Australia is about 16 million square kilometres of mountains, hills and valleys, so it’s unrealistic to expect mobile 4g coverage across every square inch of the nation. Where safety is an issue, Australians are advised to do as they always have – take alternate forms of communication as we did before mobile phones existed.

“In six years of Government, Labor fixed zero black spots and helped build zero towers. During this year’s election, Labor did not promise any scheme whatsoever to expand mobile phone coverage nor did it promise to match the Coalition’s Mobile Black Spots Program. Under Labor, rural, regional and remote Australia would not receive any extra towers at all.”

Media contact: Les White | 0409 805 122 | les.white@regional.gov.au

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