Completion of Tiwi Islands telecommunications upgrade brings improved connectivity for remote Territorians

Media Release, 10 March 2021

A $3.4 million upgrade of telecommunications and transmission infrastructure as part of a partnership between Telstra and the NT Government has now been completed, offering new economic and social opportunities for residents and businesses on Tiwi Islands.

The completion of the upgrade was officially recognised today in Wurrumiyanga by Telstra CEO Andrew Penn and NT Minister for Corporate and Digital Development Paul Kirby. Together they toured some of the new infrastructure on the island and talked to residents about communications experiences on the Islands.

Since early 2020, key communications upgrades on the Tiwi Islands have included:

  • Upgraded radio systems to key townships, enabling improved mobile and fixed line connectivity;
  • Upgraded battery reserves and solar capacity at townships and radio repeater sites enabling longer connectivity during mains power outages; and
  • Upgraded ADSL1 to ADSL2+ at Wurrumiyanga, and broadband enabled Pirlangimpi and Milikapiti with ADSL2+ fixed line internet services.

Communities now with improved telecommunications services are Wurrumiyanga, Pirlangimpi and Milikapiti.

Quotes from the Hon Paul Kirby- Minister for Corporate and Digital Development.

"All Territorians deserve access to reliable mobile phone and internet services. Together with Telstra, we are working hard to give people the opportunity to connect to the services they need, and also the services they want.

"The latest co-investment program with Telstra will see a further $28M invested into telecommunications infrastructure at 14 remote sites across the Territory, including communities, tourist locations and along our vast Territory roads.

"Wurrumiyanga, Pirlangimpi and Milikapiti, on the iconic Tiwi Islands, are the first communities to benefit from the current $28M co-investment program, with more to come. Our Government will go the extra mile for people living in the bush."

Quotes from Andrew Penn, CEO of Telstra.

"This infrastructure upgrade will enable people on the Tiwi Islands to be able to connect more often and have a better telecommunications experience.

"Good telecommunications infrastructure is fundamental to overcoming disadvantage in regional and remote communities.  Connectivity is an essential service – providing access to education, work, social interaction. We know through the findings of the Telstra-funded Australian Digital Inclusion Index the key challenges for connectivity are accessibility, ability and affordability.  

"This upgrade will help offer new economic and social opportunities for residents and businesses on Tiwi Islands and Telstra is very pleased to have helped make that happen.

"Telstra has a demonstrated long-term commitment to providing telecommunications in regional and remote Australia. However, in many places, without government support it would not have been financially viable for this connectivity to have been constructed.

"Telstra and the NT Government’s previous co-investment partnerships have already seen over 40 remote communities receive mobile phone and/or broadband services since 2013. We look forward to delivering new coverage to residents and visitors across the NT."

About the Remote Telecommunications Co-Investment Program.

Beginning in mid-2019, this $28m four-year program sees the NT Government and Telstra deliver matching contributions of $14m over that period.

With the exceptions of Cahill’s Crossing, Larrimah and Top Springs, the majority of communities are primarily located in Central NT.

Mobile and fixed line internet connectivity is planned for Wutunugurra (Epenarra), Canteen Creek, Nyirripi, Yuelamu, Laramba and Willowra. New mobile connectivity is also planned for Avon Downs and Tilmouth Well.

Construction is underway to deliver these and barring unforeseen challenges, Telstra expects these sites to be operational by July 2022.

Telstra Media contact:

Chris Marks- Telstra Public Affairs (SA and NT)

Media reference number: 014/2021