FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said a new mobile base station in the New England Electorate was switched on in the White Rock Mountain area on Monday.
The mobile phone tower is part of the Commonwealth Government’s $385 million Mobile Black Spot Programme announced earlier in the year with 28 new or upgraded stations to be installed in the New England Electorate.
“This new mobile base station just west of Glen Innes will bring a much-needed boost to mobile coverage, providing benefits to emergency service operators, businesses, and residents,” Mr Joyce said.
“The Coalition Government has delivered on its commitment and understands the importance of mobile coverage in regional and remote areas of Australia, allocating $100 million for Round 1 of the programme and a further $60 million for Round 2.
“Despite being in Government for six years, Labor did not spend one dollar on fixing mobile black spots in regional Australia.
“I strongly encourage residents of the New England Electorate to nominate other mobile black spots in their local area by 15 January 2015, for consideration under Round 2 of the programme at www.communications.gov.au/blackspots,” Mr Joyce said.
Round 1 of the Mobile Black Spot Programme will deliver 499 new or upgraded mobile base stations in regional and remote areas, providing mobile coverage to some 3,000 mobile black spots across 68,600 square kilometres.
New external antenna coverage to more than 150,000 square kilometres, and more than 5,700 kilometres of major transport routes will also receive new handheld or external antenna coverage.
This represents the largest one-time increase in mobile network coverage delivered by a single public funding programme in the history of mobile communications in Australia and achieves the Coalition Government’s commitment to have the first base stations funded under Round 1 of the programme switched on by the end of the 2015.
The locations of the new or upgraded base stations were selected following an extensive public consultation process which allowed residents in the New England Electorate to nominate mobile black spot locations.
Following the nominations, a competitive selection process was undertaken where mobile network operators were asked to nominate sites where they would build new or upgraded base stations to serve the black spot locations nominated by the public. Successful locations were announced in June 2015 and selected in accordance with the ranking process in the Programme guidelines which were issued publicly in December 2014.
The Commonwealth funding commitment of $100 million under Round 1 (ex GST) was supplemented by funding commitments from the governments of NSW ($24 million), Victoria ($21 million), Queensland ($10 million), Western Australia ($32 million) and Tasmania ($0.35 million), as well as around $1.7 million from local governments, businesses and community organisations.
States which have made a co-contribution under the Programme are now finalising funding agreements with Telstra and Vodafone. The Commonwealth Government will be in a position to provide more detail on the rollout schedule once State Governments have concluded these funding agreements.
Round 2 of the Mobile Black Spot Programme will see the Commonwealth Government invest an additional $60 million in improving mobile coverage across Australia, on top of its $100 million investment in Round 1.
A map of mobile black spot locations and the locations which will receive new or upgraded coverage under Round 1 of the Programme is available at http://nationalmap.gov.au/