The latest round of funding has been announced in the Australian Government mobile blackspot program, with Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all receiving funding to build out 102 more sites.
The Australian Government has allocated AU$60 million AUD in this latest round of funding, the third since it was announced in 2016.
Telstra is taking a large portion of the funds after announcing they had been awarded 89 new priority sites, bringing their total to 650 sites across the three rounds. Telstra will build out sites across all Australian states, though no territories are listed in the locations being targeted.
Of the 89 sites being built in this latest round, Telstra says that 84 will be delivered through mobile base stations, while five sites, Aireys Inlet, Anglesea and Bellbrae in Victoria, and Tathra and Tumut in New South Wales will be delivered through Telstra’s 4G small cell technology.
Mike Wright, Group Managing Director, Networks Telstra said
We are pleased to be bringing new or improved coverage to 160,000 km sq. of the country through our invested commitment in three rounds of the Government’s Black Spot Program.
Optus has also announced that they had been allocated funding for building out improved service in blackspots, with Optus being awarded $5.5 million in Federal funding, with Optus also co-contributing $2.3 million.
Optus will build 12 sites at Fullerton Cove and Mount Seaview in NSW, Alva Beach, Cedar Creek, Donnybrook, Moreton Island and Russell Island in Queensland and Beechford/Lefroy, Lachlan, Murdunna, Wilmot and Yolla in Tasmania.
As part of this rollout, Optus intends to fit battery back-up capability to the sites, offering up to 12 hours of additional life which Optus says will help mitigate potential power outages. This additional service will be at ‘an additional Government funded cost’.
Andrew Sheridan, Optus Vice President Regulatory and Public Affairs said,
Enabling mobile coverage in regional Australia is a key priority for us and we are proud to be working in partnership with the Federal Government to make this happen. In the last 12 months we have delivered more than 350 new sites across regional Australia, with ambitious plans for the next 12 months already in place.
As part of the rollout, Optus will also invest in four of the Government’s Priority locations – Lake Tyers Beach (VIC), Lake Clifton (WA), Ningi (QLD) and Sandstone Point (QLD) – as part of their future rollout plans, a move welcomed by Minister for Regional Communications, Bridget McKenzie.
Vodafone has been awarded financing to build a single site at Kalorama on the eastern outskirts of Melbourne which will improve mobile coverage in parts of the Dandenong Ranges.
Vodafone says that the tower at Kalorma will provide additional 4G mobile data and voice services to local residents and businesses in the area following a long campaign by the local community to address coverage issues in Kalorama and surrounding areas.
Vodafone Chief Technology Officer Kevin Millroy said
We are working to deliver advanced mobile services to communities across Australia. Participating in the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program has allowed Vodafone to build on its own investment and make a positive difference in the lives of Australians across the country.