FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce will welcome the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, Paul Fletcher MP, to Copeton Dam on Friday morning to discuss the Coalition’s $100 million Mobile Coverage Program.
“This visit is an opportunity for the community to have some input into our $100 million Mobile Coverage Program,” Mr Joyce said.
The Mobile Coverage Program is an Abbott government initiative to extend mobile phone coverage and competition in regional Australia.
“I am a passionate advocate for better mobile coverage and I am pleased that the community has been able to share information about the significant impact of mobile phone black spots,” he said.
“Lack of connectivity to emergency services in critical situations is a problem that needs to be addressed, particularly in areas of high fire danger.”
The Federal Government has committed to invest $100 million to improve mobile phone coverage in outer metropolitan, regional and remote communities around Australia.
The funding has two elements: The $80 million Mobile Network Expansion Program will improve mobile coverage along major transport routes, in small communities and in areas that are prone to experiencing natural disasters; the $20 million Mobile Black Spot Program will improve mobile coverage in locations with unique coverage problems.
“The funding for this national program will be allocated via an open and transparent process with the detailed rules to be announced in due course following consultation with stakeholders,” Mr Joyce said.
The Government has released a discussion paper seeking feedback to maximise the impact of this funding, including co-investment from other levels of government (both state and local) and from businesses and other proponents, as well as from mobile phone carriers and other industry participants and leveraging the towers and backhaul connections of NBN Co’s fixed network wireless network.
The discussion paper is available from the Department of Communications at: http://www.communications.gov.au/mobile_services/mobile_coverage_program
Submissions are due 28 February and can be forwarded to the Department of Communications at