Round two of the mobile black spot rollout will soon be in motion, with Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all releasing indicative rollout schedules for the coming year.
All 266 round two base stations, contracted under agreements signed with the Australian Government through the Coalition’s Mobile Black Spot Program, are expected to be delivered by October 2018.
Minister for regional communications, Fiona Nash, has welcomed the release of indicative rollout schedules for mobile towers being delivered under this second phase of the Coalition Government’s $220 million Mobile Black Spot Program.
Nash also mentioned that a further $60 million has been committed to target specific priority locations which had not received a bid for a tower from a telecommunications company in the first two rounds, with a competitive process to allocate the funding expected to commence later this year.
“Australians can now check online to get an indication of when their new local phone tower from rounds one and two of the Coalition’s Mobile Black Spot Program is expected to be up and running,” Nash said.
“I do remind residents, and journalists, that these rollout schedules are meant as an indication and could be subject to some change. As a farmer from central NSW, I understand what it’s like not to have mobile coverage, and to stand on one leg on a gate trying to get it,” she said.
According to Nash, the government is delivering 765 mobile phone towers to regional Australia, with more to come.
“The telecommunications companies are using all their available resources over the next couple of years delivering the 765 towers we’ve already contracted,” she said.
The second round of rollouts will aim to deliver new or better coverage to 6,300 homes and businesses across 17,700 square kilometres, including 1,900 kilometres along major transport routes. In total, both rounds will deliver new or improved coverage to 32,000 homes and businesses across 68,000 square kilometres through 765 mobile towers.
This round will also deliver new and upgraded base stations across Australia, specifically 39 in New South Wales, 32 in Victoria, 76 in Queensland, 78 in Western Australia, 20 in South Australia, six in Tasmania, and 15 in the Northern Territory.
Governments and businesses alike have been ramping up their focus on the mobile black spot areas, with the Victorian Government recently pledging $11 million for the program, and Optus making moves to improve coverage in 22 new sites, including four mobile black spot locations.
Recently, the Queensland premier asked the government to make good on mobile black spot funding, with the state also embarking on mobile black spot patches with new small cell sites.