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Coalition delivers major mobile coverage boost

Minister for Regional Communications, Senator Bridget McKenzie, today announced the outcomes of the latest round of the Mobile Black Spot Program, which is improving mobile coverage across Australia.

Minister McKenzie said the Coalition is fulfilling its election commitment to address mobile coverage across regional Australia.

“Today I am announcing that all 125 identified priority black spot locations will receive improved mobile coverage,” Minister McKenzie said.

Optus, Telstra and Vodafone will receive $45.6 million in Commonwealth funding to build 102 new base stations under the Priority Locations round of the program.

“This is in addition to the 19 locations already being addressed under Commonwealth Government programs, or through carriers recognising that there were coverage issues in these areas and expanding their own networks commercially.”

“I am also pleased to announce that Optus and Telstra have recognised the coverage issues identified at four priority locations and advised that they will address these issues commercially.”

“The Coalition understands the importance of having access to modern and reliable 21st century communications, particularly in the regions. Mobile coverage has become an essential service for work, education and social connection.”

The first of the base stations are expected to be rolled out by the end of this year, representing a total of $82.8 million in funding to improve mobile coverage to priority locations across Australia including contributions from the mobile carriers. A number of these locations are also receiving small cells (smaller mobile base stations) under the program.

The funding for these priority locations will also provide for at least 12 hours of back-up power at each macro base station to help ensure mobile coverage is not lost in the event of a power outage.

“Rounds one and two of the Mobile Black Spot Program have already delivered new or improved coverage to 456 locations across Australia providing handheld phone coverage to more than 86,000 square kilometres of land mass. When this round is complete, it will take the total to 867 locations, evidence that the program is delivering real outcomes for Australians.”

“The program started with a Commonwealth funding allocation of $220 million and has now grown into more than $680 million in total investment across the three rounds of the program. This significant investment is great news for thousands of people across Australia who live, work and invest in these local communities. This investment also further extends the mobile coverage network for those travelling to these areas,” Minister McKenzie said.

The base station rollout schedules for all three rounds of the program can be found on the TelstraOptus and Vodafone websites.

Media Contact:

Kate Woodbridge: 0409 679 924 or Sally-Anne Kahl: 0427 604 564