More communities across rural and remote areas of Northern Australia are in line for improved mobile phone coverage as the competitive selection process for Round 2 of the Mobile Black Spot programme gets underway.
Northern-based LNP Senator Ian Macdonald said mobile network providers are now in the process of nominating locations to install new or upgraded base stations to address mobile black spots that were identified by members of the public at the end of last year.
“Prior to Christmas, residents across the north were encouraged to nominate mobile black spot locations ahead of Round Two, with the Federal Government investing an additional $60million to specifically address mobile coverage in rural, regional and remote areas of the country,” Senator Macdonald said.
Senator Macdonald said as a result of Round One of the programme, nearly 500 new mobile base stations were funded, including Flying Fish Point on the Cassowary Coast, Watsonville in Mareeba, Butchers Creek in the Tablelands, Forsayth in Etheridge Shire, Abergowerie, and the Gulf Development Road, between Georgetown and Croydon.
“As the Coalition Government continues to make great progress on rolling out the initiatives highlighted in the Northern Australia White Paper, it is critical that there is a reliable communications network in place, particularly in the more regional and remote parts of the North.
“I thank those residents who responded to the call to nominate mobile black spots in their local areas, as these will now be considered by the mobile network providers as part of Round Two.”
Senator Macdonald said during Labor’s six years in government, there wasn’t a single dollar invested to improve mobile phone coverage in regional and rural areas.
“The Coalition Government understands the fundamental needs of the hundreds and thousands of Australians living outside metropolitan areas when it comes to having at least the same standard of service and access to communications, and has invested $160million through this mobile black spot programme to ensure this happens,” Senator Macdonald said.
More than 4,400 new locations were nominated across the country and added to the national database, which can be viewed at data.gov.au/dataset/community-reports-of-poor-or-no-mobile-coverage.
Successful locations under Round 2 are expected to be announced in the second half of 2016. The full rollout of new or upgraded base stations funded under Round 1 will occur progressively over the next three years.