Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, welcomed a significant milestone in regional communications.
At Kings Plains near Glen Innes, the Coalition Government’s $220 million Mobile Black Spot Program delivered its 50th Telstra mobile base station in NSW.
The site now offers improved communication links in the electorate’s north, helping small business and communities stay connected while also improving safety on rural properties and roads around the region.
“I travel this electorate a lot, so I know how much good mobile coverage means to rural and regional communities in the New England,” Mr Joyce said.
“Whether that’s for home business, farmers out in the paddock or motorists on local roads, we all want and deserve the best mobile service available. With this new infrastructure at Kings Plains, the Coalition Government is helping to provide that to residents here in our region.
“Under the Mobile Black Spot Program, 33 new and upgraded mobile base stations are being deployed in the New England electorate and to date, 10 base stations have been completed.
“The New England is also receiving eight of Telstra’s 4G small cells at Bukkulla, Bunnan, Deepwater, Liston, Wallabadah, Watsons Creek, Wollomombi and Yetman. Six of these have been completed so far.
“Vodafone has also continued to invest in local mobile phone infrastructure with new base stations added this year at South Tamworth, West Tamworth, Taminda, Rushes Creek near Somerton and Kootingal.
“That’s on top of a significant commitment by Optus earlier this year to build new sites at 16 locations in the Tamworth and surrounding areas.
“Just last month, tenders were called for the four Mobile Black Spot Program priority locations at Baldersleigh, Copeton Dam, Fig Tree Hill and Kingstown.
“Together, this mobile infrastructure is helping connect communities in New England like never before.
“And while the Coalition is investing $220 million in three funding rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Program, Labor did not invest a single dollar into improving mobile coverage, despite being in Government for six years.”
As of 13 December 2017, a total of 342 base stations have been completed and are now providing new handheld mobile coverage across regional Australia.
Telstra Area General Manager Mike Marom said the latest project represented a major milestone for the company.
“This is a significant moment for the Kings Plains community and for New South Wales,” Mr Marom said.
“We have now rolled out 50 new mobile stations in this state and they are among more than 250 locations across Australia that are now benefitting from more mobile coverage through Telstra’s delivery of the Mobile Black Spot Program. The new mobile base station at Kings Plains delivers Telstra’s 3G and state of the art 4GX mobile data services to the region for the first time.”