Govt-funded mobile towers not due until 2015

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Govt-funded mobile towers not due until 2015

Path to address blackspots.

The Federal Government isn't expecting to see the first fruits of its $100 million investment in mobile telecommunications blackspots until at least "some time in 2015".

The timeframe was revealed by parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Communications, Paul Fletcher, in an interview with ABC South East NSW radio.

The blackspot investment was a Coalition election pledge that it is presently consulting with industry on. The $100 million pot is expected to fund as many as 250 new mobile phone towers in under-serviced areas of Australia.

"The hope would be to have some new base stations in the field at some point in 2015 as a consequence of this process," Fletcher said, adding, "these things take a while to work through".

Fletcher said the Government is already fielding interest from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

"This is considerably more money than has previously been allocated for a single program of this kind, and they're all definitely interested," he said.

Fletcher also indicated he had received some expressions of interest from unspecified local councils.

The Government is yet to publish any of the received EOIs, and is still accepting submissions by interested parties up until the end of February

Fletcher said the Government would "digest all of those" from March, before setting rules for how it would allocate federal funds.

"We'll [then] have a competitive selection process," he said.

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