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Coalition announces rollout schedule to fix mobile black spots

Joint Media Release:
Minister for Communications, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
Deputy Leader of the Nationals, Senator the Hon Fiona Nash

The Coalition Government has released the locations of the first 78 mobile base stations scheduled to be constructed by the end of June 2016 under round 1 of the $385 million Mobile Black Spot Programme.

Nineteen mobile base stations have already been completed and the first six-month rollout schedule lists the new or upgraded base stations to be built in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania by the first half of this year.

The full rollout of the 499 new or upgraded base stations will be completed over the next three years and the rollout schedule will be updated half-yearly with the most up-to-date information from mobile network operators of the new base stations scheduled to be built.

Consultation with local communities is an important step in the successful rollout of any major infrastructure programme, including the Mobile Black Spot Programme. Timeframes for the rollout of new base stations can vary widely, typically due to local government development approval processes, community consultation periods and other local factors.

Under round 1 of the Programme, the Coalition Government's $100 million investment leveraged an additional $88 million in co-contributions from the Governments of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania, as well as substantial co-contributions from Telstra and Vodafone, local governments and third parties to establish a total funding package of $385 million.

This is the most significant one-time increase in mobile network coverage to regional and remote Australia delivered by a single public funding programme in the history of mobile communications in Australia.

The full rollout of 499 new or upgraded base stations from round 1 of the Programme will provide 68,600 square kilometres of new handheld coverage and more than 150,000 square kilometres of new external antenna coverage, providing mobile coverage to some 3000 mobile black spot locations nominated by members of the public.

Public nominations for black spots to be considered under round 2 of the Programme closed last month, with an additional $60 million in funding announced for in round 2 in June 2015. The new locations to be funded under round 2 are expected to be announced by the end of 2016, with a competitive selection process for the funding to be announced in the coming weeks.

More information about the Programme and the rollout schedule is available at www.communications.gov.au/mobile_coverage.