Hardening of 31 disaster-prone mobile towers in New England

01 Dec 2020

Mobile phone towers in the New England will be able to keep operating longer if the power goes out during or after natural disasters, thanks to a major new investment by the Australian Government.

The Government is funding Telstra and TPG to extend the battery back up at 31 mobile phone towers in the New England, to provide a minimum of 12 hours of back-up power.

Federal Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said extending the battery life of the mobile phone towers would increase telecommunications resilience during times of natural disasters.

“Recent bushfires exploited the vulnerabilities of our mobile network not by damage to infrastructure but through a loss in power,” Mr Joyce said.

“This $18 million Mobile Network Hardening Program will upgrade battery backup power from between 3 to 8 hours up to at least 12 hours at base stations. Funding also includes a grants program to support a range of hardening measures at high priority locations to prevent telecommunications outages during disaster events.

“I have worked incredibly hard to secure new and improved mobile coverage across great areas of our New England Electorate so I am pleased to see added protection for these vital communication assets.”

Sites in the New England to benefit from the upgrade include Mount Hourigan, Baldersleigh, Koreelah, Pinkett, Doughboy Mountain, Attunga, Balala, Barraba, Bonshaw, Tabulam, Drake, Dungowan, Duri, Elsmore, Fossickers Way, Hallsville, Invergowrie, Kings Plains, Manilla, Moonbi, Oxley Vale, Piallamore, Rocky Creek, Spring Mountain Road, Warral, Urbenville, Walcha, Walcha Road, Westdale, Woolomin and Girard Hill Top (replacement site for Mount Carrington).

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said telecommunications, including mobile phone towers, need reliable power sources to operate.

“Telecommunications - including mobile phone towers - rely on power to operate. This investment will allow mobile phone towers to keep operating for at least 12 hours after the power goes out, making a real difference for communities during and after a natural disaster,” Minister Fletcher said.

The Government is providing a total of $13.2 million to Telstra, Optus and TPG to extend the battery back up at 467 mobile phone towers across Australia, under stage one of the program. More information is available on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website.

This program is supported by the Australian Government’s continuing commitment to expanding mobile coverage in regional and remote Australia, with Round 5A of the $380 million Mobile Black Spot Program now open for applications.

(ENDS)

 

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