news The government has announced that the deadline for public nominations for Round 2 of the Mobile Black Spot Programme has been extended from 31 December 2015 to 15 January 2016.
The new closing date, it said, will ensure individuals and community groups have sufficient time to enter their nominations after the festive season and “reflects the significant demand for improved mobile coverage in rural, regional and remote Australia”.
Under Round 2 of the programme, the government said it will commit $60 million to improve mobile coverage in areas reported as having poor or no mobile coverage by the community.
This is in addition to the $100 million investment made in Round 1, which has already seen the first of 499 new and upgraded mobile base stations in regional and remote Australia start to roll out.
Locations nominated by the public as mobile black spots will be added to a national database, which will be provided to mobile operators as part of a competitive selection process.
Successful locations will be determined in accordance with the ranking process set out in the Round 2 guidelines, which will be issued publicly prior to the commencement of the competitive selection process.
The competitive selection process was scheduled to begin in early 2016. The government said early in December it expects to be in a position to announce the successful locations under Round 2 by the end of 2016.
It is not clear currently if that date still stands following the extension of the deadline for nominations.
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.