NSW Central Coast commuters will finally receive better mobile coverage and station wi-fi on a 60km stretch of rail to the northern tip of Sydney as preliminary work begins on a long-awaited $16 million project.
The project funding consists of a $12 million injection from the federal government and $4 million from the NSW government.
It was announced in 2016 as a last-minute election promise by the Turnbull government.
The federal government today said it was seeking expressions of interest from telcos that want to improve coverage along the span of line from Wyong to Hornsby.
That stretch includes some remote, sparsely populated areas and bushland between the Central Coast and the top of Sydney.
A formal tender for the mobile portion of the project is expected to start before the end of the year.
The NSW government will have its own expression of interest for providers wanting to install wi-fi at stations along the route.
The governments said around 30,000 people commute to Sydney from the Central Coast by train each day.
“We’ll be working with mobile network operators and infrastructure providers to remove coverage blackspots on more than 60 kilometres of rail corridor so commuters will be able to continue working, or stay in touch with family and friends, while travelling on the Central Coast Line,” said Scot MacDonald, a member of the NSW Legislative Council.
Back in 2012, all three major mobile telcos equipped Sydney’s train tunnels with better coverage, improving the experience of commuters using the inner-city underground rail network.