Telstra and Optus will build 21 new mobile phone towers in southern NSW using a $50 million fund established by the state government to improve internet connectivity in under-served regions
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro on Monday said the towers would deliver “faster and more reliable wireless broadband internet” in the state’s South East region.
Almost half the 11 areas set to benefit from the new towers fall within Barilaro’s electorate, including Bungendore, Carwoola, Michelago and Royalla, while a number of others sit just outside.
The towers will be delivered in partnership with Optus and Telstra, though the wireless broadband service will be delivered by rural communications carrier Yless4U.
Yless4U is a private company that claims to specialise in providing rural broadband services in South Eastern NSW.
The telco also provides consulting services to governments in the “design, business case development and deployment of regional/rural and remote telecommunications infrastructure”.
The towers - the majority of which will be delivered by Optus - will be funded out of the government’s $50 million ‘connecting country communities fund’.
The fund was announced in October 2017 to bankroll the creation or expansion of small telcos in regional and rural areas.
“This funding will contribute to a significant improvement in internet connectivity speeds that will reach more than double current speeds by September 2021, and further improve by May 2025,” Barilaro said on Monday.
“This will improve safety, boost opportunities for businesses, increase community access to services, connect family and friends, and ensure younger residents can access the online educational resources they need.”
The government also provided an additional $400 million in the lead up to last year’s election to fund the creation of additional mobile blackspot towards a separate ‘regional digital connectivity package’.
Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said the funding, which is being delivered by both the recently introduced Department of Regional NSW and the NSW Telco Authority, would help strengthen communities.
“This funding will enhance existing assets including towers, land, fibre and backhaul as well as building new infrastructure to enable communities to be better connected,” he said, adding that reliable internet was more important than ever.
The full list of areas set to benefit from the new towers are: