Optus has announced it will build 16 new mobile towers across regional New South Wales in a $12 million investment.
The NSW Government has granted $6 million in funding with Optus also investing another $6 million in the project expected to be completed within two years.
This is part of the Government’s Mobile Blackspots Program and will see half of the towers located in the Northern Rivers area, including Fernleigh, Goolmangar, Main Arm and Stony Chute.
"There is a genuine need for improved telecommunications services across this key regional centre, especially given Northern Rivers’ popularity as a tourism hub,” said Optus vice president of regulatory affairs Andrew Sheridan.
“This is the first time that people in these areas will have dedicated mobile coverage. Access to voice and data coverage is critical, particularly in those regions with high agricultural or tourism-based economies.”
The announcement follows Optus’ completion of six black spot sites across NSW as part of the federal and state Governments' program.
In 2017, the NSW Government pledged $50 million into improving phone and data connectivity in the state’s rural and regional areas.
Previously the state promised $39 million funding in a co-investment with the Federal Government’s Mobile Blackspots Program.
As of June this year, more than $680 million of funding has been pumped into the program across Australia. Telstra has footed most of the bill with a $260 million investment that will see the telco build 650 of the total 800 mobile bases.
The federal government has invested $220 million while the state governments have handed over $141.2 million.
Across Australia, Optus has co-funded 68 sites with a total investment of $36.5 million.
Earlier this year, Victoria pulled out of the federal government program after complaining it had been short-changed by Canberra. The state is now using the $11 million it planned to invest in the federal program in its own system. The state is now working with Optus to build 25 mobile towers across the region.