by George Nott

Government to spend a further $60M to fix mobile black spots

May 24, 2016
Business IntelligenceGovernmentGovernment IT

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will today announce $60 million of funding for phase two of the federal government’s mobile black spot program.

Inadequate mobile phone coverage is a serious concern for many Australians, particularly those living in regional areas.

According to the blackspot discussion paper, Optus, Telstra and Vodafone collectively claim to provide coverage to 99 per cent of the population, however that equates to only 25 per cent of the landmass. In some areas with coverage, reception is only possible with the use of external antenna.

The investment builds on the $100 commitment made in June to deliver 499 new and upgraded mobile base stations across Australia.

Phase one funding was supplemented by Telstra who are building 429 new 3G and 4GX base stations as part of a $5 billion investment into its mobile network over three years to end June 2017.

Vodafone (which is building 70 new base stations), five state governments, local governments, businesses and community groups also contributed.

Turnbull will make the announcement in the marginal seat of Corangamite, Victoria where locals have nominated 166 black spot locations to their local council.

Speaking on the release of Vodafone’s base station construction schedule last month, minister for regional communications, Fiona Nash, said: “As a rural Australian who experiences limited mobile coverage on the roads to my home, I understand the issues faced by those living with little or no coverage. Although coverage is essentially dictated by the market, government can help, and that’s what the Coalition’s Mobile Black Spot Programme does. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Carlisle River or Colac, better mobile phone coverage makes life easier.”