Coalition pledges fix for mobile phone coverage


Senator Ian Macdonald, Opposition Spokesman for Northern and Remote Australia, welcomed the pledge today by the Coalition to address mobile phone blackspots in regional and remote areas.

This is particularly important in Northern Australia where the distances are great and the need for coverage is particularly important, Senator Macdonald said.

As I travel around the state there are too many places where mobile phone coverage is either non-existent or unreliable.

All too often, phone coverage drops out for no other reason than the fact that governments and telecommunications companies have underinvested in local telecommunications infrastructure leaving communities cut off in emergencies and natural disasters.

Our policy to fix black spots will see us partner with local communities, state governments and telecommunications companies to ensure an even greater investment in regional communications than our $100 million commitment.

We are providing a real solution to an issue faced by Northern Australian residents every day.

By extending mobile phone coverage we also deliver access to the internet in towns and remote locations which will make a huge difference.

Senator Macdonald said the policy to fix mobile phone black spots would provide $80 million for a Mobile Network Expansion Programme that would improve mobile phone coverage along major transport routes, in small communities and in locations prone to experiencing natural disasters.

It will also provide $20 million for a mobile black spot program and ensure the NBN makes its infrastructure available to mobile phone carriers where it is needed.

We cant undo years of neglect overnight, but this $100 million will go a long way to eliminating hundreds of black spots across Northern Australia and also act as a springboard for further investment by local communities and from telecommunication companies in regional telecommunications infrastructure.

Senator Macdonald said it was unfortunate that Kevin Rudd had abolished the Coalitions $2.4 billion fund to upgrade communications in regional and remote Australia.

Now we have the chance to fix this, and get back on track to build a stronger Australia and a better future for all Australians.

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