Telstra announces regional review response, adds more non-metro support

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Telstra announces regional review response, adds more non-metro support

Invests an extra $75 million.

Outgoing Telstra CEO Andy Penn says the carrier has added $75 million to what it will spend responding to the regional telecommunications report.

The commitment comes as Telstra also promised to increase the number of staff devoted to supporting regional and remote communities.

In a speech to the National Farmers Federation conference in Canberra, Penn promised “more boots on the ground in regional Australia” through Telstra’s expanded 'connected communities' program.

“We will double the number of locally-based regional engagement managers to work with their communities to improve the customer experience, provide information about coverage, performance and management of outages and build connectivity literacy and digital capability,” Penn said.

“We will triple the number of highly-experienced regional network advisors to work with 
customers to address complex network issues to help our network work as hard as possible for our customers.

“For the first time we will appoint a remote community advocate, responsible for monitoring the performance of our network, communicating recovery times to impacted communities, and responding to the needs of these communities.”

He said the remote community advocate will be part of a customer advocate council, reporting directly to the CEO.

“This Council will ensure our regional, rural and remote customers have an even louder voice at the table”, Penn said. 

“The council members will also include our chief customer advocate, chief First Nations advocate and our chief regional advocate.”

The new advocacy role will be an internal appointment, a Telstra spokesperson told iTnews, in addition to chief customer advocate Teresa Corbin, Chief First Nations advocate Lauren Ganley and the chief regional advocate Loretta Willaton.

Via its connected communities program, Penn also promised more money for, and engagement in, local chambers of commerce and other groups; and collaboration with NBN Local on inclusion, community technology solutions, and emergency response.

Regional telco review spend

Penn also committed another $75 million to Telstra’s response to the regional telecommunications review released in February.

The money will come from the part sale of Telstra InfraCo’s towers business, and is in addition to $200 million over four years for co-investment with government and local communities.

That spend includes expanding regional 4G and 5G coverage by 100,000 square kilometres by June 2025.

Telstra has also committed $150 million on upgrading 180 3G sites, expanding the capacity available at high-traffic 4G sites, and other site optimisations.

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