The federal government is set to put another $811.8 million behind improving mobile coverage in regional Australia, in what is likely to be a boon for Telstra.
In its budget, the government unveiled the new ‘connecting regional Australia initiative’, which it said would “expand mobile coverage and improve connectivity, resilience and affordability in regional, rural and peri-urban Australia.”
“This initiative will expand regional mobile coverage and address blackspots on up to 8000km of roads and adjacent households, businesses and tourist hotspots, deliver targeted upgrades to digital connectivity for communities, improve resilience against natural disasters, support affordability for families and businesses, and increase indigenous connectivity,” it said.
The initiative is said to build on the $380 million the government has spent to date repairing mobile blackspots, which Telstra is previously reported to have nabbed over 75 percent of funded sites.
It also builds on the regional connectivity program, which the government spent $230 million on, and which covered works such as on “mobile voice and data coverage, fixed wireless and fibre broadband services, and improved microwave and fibre backhaul capacity.”
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the fresh funding for mobile coverage expansion, together with $480 million given to NBN Co to improve its fixed wireless network, were the two key parts of the government’s response to the recent regional telecommunications review.
“The government’s response to the review, including the $1.3 billion of initiatives outlined above, combined with expected co-investments by industry and state and territory governments, is anticipated to deliver over $2 billion in total investment in telecommunications infrastructure in regional, rural and remote Australia,” Fletcher said.
More to come