news A second round of the Mobile Black Spot Programme (MBSP) has opened to help boost the consistency of mobile coverage across Australia.
Yesterday Communications Minister Mitch Fifield made a call for nominations of mobile black spot locations around the country to be submitted by 31 December for consideration under Round 2 of the MBSP.
“The Commonwealth Government has committed $60 million to provide new or upgraded mobile coverage to black spots in regional and remote Australia under Round 2 of the Mobile Black Spot Programme, and we’re calling on members of the public to nominate black spots in their local area by 31 December,” Fifield said.
“This new funding is on top of the $100 million committed to Round 1 of the programme, which leveraged co-contributions from mobile operators, state and local governments and third parties for a total funding envelope of $385 million,” he added.
Locations nominated by the public as mobile black spots – areas with no or poor coverage – will be added to a national database which will be provided to mobile operators as part of a competitive selection process. Operators will be required to nominate sites where they would build new or upgraded base stations to serve the black spot locations nominated by the public.
Successful locations will be determined in accordance with the ranking process set out in the MBSP Round 2 guidelines, which will be issued publicly prior to the commencement of the competitive selection process.
The competitive selection process is scheduled to begin in early 2016. The government said it expects to be in a position to announce the successful locations under Round 2 by the end of 2016.
More than 6,000 locations were nominated under Round 1 of the programme and, as a result, new or upgraded coverage will be provided to around 3,000 of the nominated black spots. Black spots which are not set to receive new or upgraded coverage under Round 1 of the programme will remain in the database as eligible locations for Round 2.
The Commonwealth Government announced the successful locations under Round 1 in June 2015, with the first of the 499 base stations funded under the programme due to be switched-on by the end of 2015. The full rollout will be completed over the next three years, Fifield said in a statement.
A national map of mobile black spot locations and the locations which will receive new or upgraded coverage under the program can be seen here.
Black spot nominations for Round 2 of the Programme close on 31 December and can be made online at this dedicated webpage.
Image credit: Parliamentary Broadcasting