Telstra is planning to ramp up its spending for its network in regional, rural and remote areas with $350 million set aside for network upgrades and a co-investment fund over the next few years.
Announced by Telstra CEO Andrew Penn on Monday, part of the spend includes $150 million over the next year to be used in “a number of important areas” on a case-by-case basis.
“We will be boosting coverage at popular destination spots; funding capacity upgrades; ensuring that 3G-only sites have access to 4G; building new 4G sites; and developing technology for long-range sites with small cells and satellite backhaul,” he said.
Telstra also announced that it would lead a co-investment fund over the next four years, which is set to contain $200 million for the enhancement and extension of mobile coverage in rural and regional areas.
“We plan to stimulate infrastructure co-investment with governments, local councils and businesses in areas that would otherwise be difficult to justify on economic grounds," Penn said.
Both the $150 million and $200 million allotments are both backed up by, and in addition to, a number of projects it has been awarded by the federal government, the telco claimed.
This includes the Regional Connectivity Program — which is set to receive $24.6 million in additional funding by the government in the upcoming Budget for 2021-22 — with Telstra working with the federal government to power $55 million worth of network upgrades.
Penn also claimed it was the only major mobile provider to both win projects and commit funding to improve services.
He said the telco has also participated in the federal government’s Mobile Black Spot Program, with it contributing “more than double the capital investment of the rest of the industry put together to build more than two thirds of the mobile black spot towers in the program,” he claimed.