Labor pledges $650m-plus for regional communications

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Labor pledges $650m-plus for regional communications

Will fit Australia Post vehicles with mobile signal measuring devices.

Labor has promised $400 million worth of improvements to non-metro mobile coverage, should it win office at the next federal election.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese and communications spokesperson Michelle Rowland announced yesterday that the funds would support better coverage on roadways, and to regional homes and businesses.

A further $20 million for a coverage audit would be the first stage of the process “to establish an evidence baseline to guide future priorities” the party’s announcement said.

As an information-gathering exercise, the ALP says Australia Post vehicles will be fitted with mobile signal measuring devices, and a Labor government will launch consultations with Infrastructure Australia and the community.

The party also promises $200 million for “place-based connectivity projects” under the regional connectivity program.

Such projects could include improved mobile voice and data coverage, targeted fibre deployments, and better microwave and fibre backhaul in rural and regional locations.

There will also be $30 million for better on-farm coverage. This, Labor said, will improve safety and support sensor and connected machinery deployment.

The Regional Tech Hub will have another $6 million of extra funding to “serve as a trusted intermediary and source of free and independent advice”.

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