12 July 2016
The Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said the next phase of the competitive selection process for Round 2 of the Mobile Black Spot Programme is due on 14 July.
Mr Joyce said submissions from mobile network operators due on Thursday and those successful locations will be announced by the end of the year.
He said the Turnbull-Joyce Government expects to begin a competitive process for the third round of the programme in early 2017, with the first base stations funded under Round 3 to begin rolling out in the second half of 2017.
The four proposed towers announced during the Election Campaign at Figtree Hill, Copeton Dam, Kingstown and Baldersleigh, west of Guyra, were part of an additional $60 million commitment to extend the successful Mobile Black Spot Programme.
“The proposed new mobile base stations will provide benefits to emergency service operators, businesses, and residents,” Mr Joyce said.
“The Coalition Government understands the importance of mobile coverage in regional and remote areas of Australia. That is why we are committing an additional $60 million on top of the $160 million already invested in mobile black spots, bringing the Coalition’s total investment to $220 million.
“We selected these areas because they were overlooked by mobile network operators due to commercial factors. The re-elected Turnbull-Joyce government will invite mobile network operators to bid for this new funding to provide coverage in the four identified locations.
“The Coalition is committed to improving mobile coverage along major transport routes, in small communities and in locations prone to experiencing natural disasters, as well as addressing unique mobile coverage problems such as areas with high seasonal demand.”
Mr Joyce said the active cooperation of the industry in the Mobile Black Spots Programme to date has been strong with 499 new or upgraded base stations covering about 3,000 black spots already rolled out under the Coalition Government. This includes 28 new and upgraded base stations in the New England Electorate.
Each of the 28 new base stations being delivered in New England under Round 1 of the programme will deliver high-speed 4G mobile data and voice.