news The Coalition Government has announced that it will invest an additional $60 million in the Mobile Black Spot Programme if it is returned to power in July’s federal election.
The new investment would bring the Coalition’s total investment in eliminating mobile blackspots to $220 million, the government said.
The Mobile Black Spot Programme already has plans to erect or upgrade 499 mobile base stations across Australia that are expected to address around half of the 6,000 blackspots nominated by the public.
Should they be re-elected, the Government has committed to invest an additional $60 million to cover black spot locations that have not previously received funding under the programme, along with locations that have been ignored by mobile network operators because they lack commercial viability.
According to a joint statement from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Regional Communications, Senator Fiona Nash, this new commitment would improve mobile coverage along major transport routes, in small communities and in regions prone to natural disasters.
It would further address “unique mobile coverage problems”, such as areas with high seasonal demand.
“Mobile connectivity is a critical part of daily social and business interaction and it is vital for personal safety. This is as true for people living in remote regions as it is in cities,” they said, adding:
“We expect Commonwealth funding will again leverage investment from mobile network operators, state governments, local governments, businesses and community organisations.”
Eliminating mobile back spot locations has the potential to increase commercial opportunities for businesses previously restricted by lack of mobile connectivity, said the statement.
Additionally, better mobile coverage could mean faster responses to accidents or bushfires, as well as bringing advantages for tourism operators, students and teachers, and farmers.
“The Coalition’s $220 million plan to address mobile black spots will enhance productivity and improve public safety, making life easier for those living in regional and remote areas thanks to access to more reliable mobile phone coverage,” said the joint statement.