Telstra answers rural communities call for mobile coverage

Media Release, 01 December 2016

More residents, businesses and visitors in rural and regional Australia will soon benefit from expanded Telstra mobile coverage, including superfast mobile broadband, under Round Two of the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program (MBSP).

Telstra’s Chief Operations Officer Brendon Riley said Telstra would build 148 mobile base stations under Round Two, in addition to the 429 locations selected in Round One of the MBSP – more than $486 million worth of co-investment in country Australia.

“Under the MBSP we will be delivering expanded 3G/4G mobile coverage to 577 locations across the nation, bringing a range of new benefits to these rural and regional communities,” Mr Riley said.

“We know that increased coverage is the number one priority for people and businesses in regional Australia. We have already expanded mobile coverage to 72 locations, resulting in nearly 30,000 square kilometres of new or improved mobile coverage under the MBSP.

“The improved coverage will increase access to new technologies for key regional sectors like agriculture, transport, mining and tourism – technologies which rely on a fast, reliable and affordable mobile network.

“Thousands of people in rural and regional areas can now talk with family, friends and run their businesses more effectively through Telstra’s 4GX service, bringing you the fastest 4G speeds on your 4GX device in Australia (in 4GX areas).

“We are also continuing to roll out up to 250 innovative 4G data only small cells to a number of other communities to ensure more of regional Australia has access to fast connectivity.”

Mr Riley said Telstra formally partnered with a number of State Governments to identify priority areas under Round Two. “We listened closely to local communities and put forward another strong bid in the competitive tender process,” he said.

“The Round Two locations will soon be incorporated into our black spot rollout schedule and should be online within the next two years.”

Mr Riley said the benefits being delivered by the MBSP demonstrated that the current regulatory settings combined with public and private co-investment was the most effective way to expand mobile coverage in the bush.

“The MBSP is encouraging providers to build mobile infrastructure in remote parts of Australia – infrastructure such as base stations and backhaul that all carriers can use to provide services to their customers if they choose to invest – and that is a great outcome for people living and working in these communities.”