The Northern Territory government has announced a new round of funding for improved communications services in remote areas ahead of tomorrow’s budget.
The new remote telecommunications co-investment program will see matching contributions from Telstra over the next four years.
The 2018-19 budget has allocated $2 million to the program, followed by $4 million per year from 2019-20 to 2021-22.
Each party will spend $14 million all up.
The NT government’s previous partnerships with Telstra have seen 37 remote communities receive mobile phone and/or broadband services since 2009.
A further eight communities will be connected by 2019 as part of existing agreements.
The new program will target remote transport corridors, tourist destinations and communities.
Mobile blackspots along the territory’s major highways will be addressed, enabling tourists, transport operators and territorians to stay connected while travelling.
NT treasurer Nicole Manison said the announcement represents “a significant investment in the Territory’s remote locations,” and will help residents in isolated communities “achieve the digital literacy levels needed for future jobs”.
“To gain digital skills people must first have digital access. Telecommunications infrastructure is the foundation,” Manison said.