The Federal Coalition Government continues to widen mobile coverage in the New England Electorate under the Mobile Blackspot Programme with Vodafone switching on new services in Westdale and Kootingal, Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said today.
The Vodafone announcement is part of an investment of $5.3 million to build 15 sites in New England this year. Sites in South Tamworth, West Tamworth, Taminda and Armidale East have already been activated in 2017.
“The new sites announced by Vodafone today under the Coalition Government’s Mobile Blackspot Programme are among 37 new or upgraded mobile phone towers to be delivered that will improve coverage for local residents,’ Mr Joyce said.
“Mobile coverage for the New England Electorate is something I continue to advocate for in the highest levels of government, and the results are a far cry from the efforts of Labor, which did not deliver one single tower for the New England Electorate while in government.
“Whether it’s phoning the neighbours, looking up cattle prices online, getting people out to do work, more connectivity means more opportunities for growth and development so the continued investment in regional areas like the New England will deliver significant benefits for local people.”
Mr Joyce said the Mobile Black Spot Programme meant small business could operate more efficiently while improving safety on farms and roads.
The site at Westdale is the fifth site Vodafone has delivered in the New England region under round one of the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program. About 126 square kilometres of additional coverage, with 16 kilometres of roadway coverage, is provided by the two sites. This includes reception towards Kootingal and along the thoroughfare between outer Tamworth to the CBD via The New England Highway. Coverage now also extends towards Westdale and along the thoroughfare between outer Tamworth to the CBD via New Winton Rd, B56 Oxley Highway, Werris Creek and Duri Road.
Vodafone is rolling out 18 sites in the New England region under round one of the Mobile Black Spot Program and a further two sites under round two of the Program. In addition to the Mobile Black Spot Program sites there are nine new Vodafone funded sites planned in the New England Region.
The Vodafone announcement comes on top of a $4.5 million commitment by Optus last week to build new sites at 16 locations in the Tamworth and Gunnedah areas as part of a broader $1 billion investment in mobile phone coverage in regional Australia.