The Federal Government is seeking local feedback on new guidelines that will drive investment to address poor mobile coverage in: Carwoola, Talbingo, Wee Jasper, Dalmeny, Mystery Bay, Majors Creek, and along the Kings Highway, Monaro Highway, Snowy Mountains Highway Jamberoo, Lilli Pilli, Worrigee, Kangaroo Valley, and along the Princes Highway between Ulladulla to Batemans Bay and the Princes Highway between Batemans Bay and Eden.
Feedback from industry and the community will help inform the Grant Opportunity Guidelines for the $40 million Improving Mobile Coverage Round (IMCR) of the Mobile Black Spot Program (MBSP).
This initiative, announced in the 2022-23 Federal Budget, will help deliver on the Albanese Government’s 2022 Federal Election commitment to improve mobile connectivity across regional Australia.
The IMCR will provide grant funding to Mobile Network Operators and Infrastructure Providers to address identified mobile coverage and quality of service issues in 54 target locations.
In addition to regional communities, this dedicated round of the MBSP is targeting mobile coverage issues along a number of regional roads and highways to ensure travellers have access to essential mobile services in the event of an emergency.
The IMCR complements the Albanese Government’s $2.2 billion investment in regional telecommunications over the next five years through the Better Connectivity Plan for Regional and Rural Australia. The Plan commits a further $1.1 billion to regional communication, including $656 million in new measures which will deliver on pre-election commitments. Other measures include:
· $400 million to improve coverage along regional highways, roads and in underserved communities.
· $200 million for additional rounds of the Regional Connectivity Program to fund a broad range of place-based communications solutions;
· $30 million to expand on-farm connectivity and drive productivity through machine to machine networks;
· $20 million to complete an independent audit of mobile coverage to identify black spots, and;
· $6 million to extend the Regional Tech Hub which provides expert advice to regional customers on how to connect and stay connected.
Local residents interested in having their say on the draft Guidelines should do so by 5pm (AEDT), 28 November 2022 by visiting www.infrastructure.gov.au/have-your-say.
More information about the MBSP, including the list of targeted locations under the IMCR, is available at www.infrastructure.gov.au/mbsp.
Further information on the Better Connectivity Plan is available at www.infrastructure.gov.au/bcp.
The Member for Eden-Monaro, the Hon Kristy McBain MP, said:
“We all know how important it is to have reliable mobile phone coverage along our key transport routes, particularly during emergencies or natural disasters.
“Local feedback on this program will make sure our community’s views are heard and we get the best possible outcome for families and small businesses.
“I look forward to working closely with residents to deliver the reliable mobile coverage they rightly deserve.” To the north in Gilmore, the Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP said:
“No one knows the trouble spots better than local people who are dealing with them every day".
“I strongly encourage local people to participate in the public consultation process.
"We have achieved terrific results to date but there is more to be done and l will continue to work towards the delivery of a reliable mobile coverage”.
Above: The Telstra mobile base station at Buckenbowra delivers 3G and 4GX mobile coverage across the top of Clyde Mountain, helping improve safety and connectivity for people travelling on the Kings Highway between Nelligen and Braidwood. The mobile base station was jointly funded by Telstra and the Commonwealth Government as part of the Mobile Black Spot Program.
Full credit for the base station should go to the years of advocacy by members of the Braidwood and Nelligen communities and to the ongoing pressure by local Federal member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips, who campaigned for years for the Clyde Mountain mobile phone black spots to be fixed despite three federal MP’s over the years failing to gain traction on this vital service in a location notorious for accidents.