news Telstra has activated its 60th mobile base station under the Mobile Black Spot Programme, 60 weeks since the first round of locations were announced.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the milestone was a “significant achievement” that was improving mobile reception for regional communities across Australia.
Under Round 1 of the programme, Telstra is building 429 3G and 4G mobile base stations over three years that will extend coverage to over 400 communities.
The firm is also rolling out up to 250 4G small cell base stations, bringing high-speed mobile Internet to a number of rural and regional communities.
The number of Telstra mobile base stations is expected to surpass 100 by the end of the Programme’s first year.
“As I travel rural and regional areas, locals tell me connectivity is one of their top issues, so this is an important step forward for the regions, said Joyce.
Mobile coverage is “vital” to people who are increasingly reliant on mobile devices to carry out business, manage farms and keep in touch, he added.
Telstra said that base station number 60 has been installed at Woolomin in New South Wales, with 3G and 4G mobile coverage currently going on air in the area.
Mike Wright, Telstra Group Managing Director, Networks, echoed the Deputy PM, saying the Black Spot Programme was delivering “real benefits” to communities across the country.
Communities that previously had little to no mobile reception can now access Telstra’s mobile network, he said.
“This includes places like Ajana in Western Australia, Youngvale in Victoria, Quilpe in Queensland and now Woolomin in New South Wales, and it has resulted in more than 20,000 square kilometres of new and improved mobile coverage since the start of the Programme.”
Telstra’s mobile network now covers more than 2.4 million square kilometres in total, Wright said, adding:
“We have been providing services to remote and rural communities for more than 100 years and are committed to investing further to connect even more Australians with the latest in mobile technology.
The Mobile Black Spot Programme is an investment of more than $340 million in regional Australia, with $165 million being provided by Telstra, $94.8 million from the Federal Government and tens of millions in targeted additional funding from state and local governments.
Telstra said that Australians can keep track of its rollout of the Mobile Black Spot Programme via the Mobile Black Spot Locator website, which includes a searchable map that allows users to find mobile base stations being rolled out in their area and provides information about expected timing.
Image credit: Telstra