700 mobile base stations delivering better phone services

More Australians than ever before are accessing better mobile coverage in regional areas, thanks to the Liberal-National Government's $380 million Mobile Black Spot Program.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said more than 700 new or improved mobile base stations were now on air thanks to the program.

'This milestone is an impressive achievement with the new coverage not only helping people to connect, but also significantly boosting our regional economy,' Minister Fletcher said.

'The first four rounds of the highly successful program will deliver 1047 new base stations in areas that are not commercially viable without Commonwealth investment.'

Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, the Hon Mark Coulton MP, said Telstra had today activated its 600th base station under the program, with the remainder delivered by Optus and Vodafone.

'The Mobile Black Spot Program is a terrific example of what can be achieved when the Federal Government, mobile industry, state and local governments, local businesses and communities work together.'

Minister Coulton said the program was ongoing proof that the Government was committed to improving mobile coverage for regional Australians.

'The program helps people to stay connected with family and friends, undertake business, access education services and improve safety,' Minister Coulton said.

'More than 20,000 Triple Zero emergency calls have been made possible through these towers being online and local community groups can engage directly with mobile networks to make them aware of the coverage issues in their area.'

Under the first four rounds of the program, the Coalition Government's commitment has generated investment of more than $760 million, with an additional $160 million in new funding for rounds five and six of the program announced earlier this year.

Funding for Round 6 commences from July 2020.

More information on the program is available at www.communications.gov.au/mbsp.

Quote attributable to Optus Vice President Regulatory and Public Affairs, Andrew Sheridan:

'Optus is proud to partner with the Government to bring connectivity to regional and rural parts of Australia, enabling more Australians to stay connected with their friends and family.'

Quote attributable to a Vodafone spokesperson:

'We're pleased to be working as part of the Government's Mobile Black Spot Program to deliver new mobile sites for communities in regional and remote areas.'

Quotes attributable to Telstra Group Executive of Networks & IT, Nikos Katinakis:

'Today is another milestone in one of the largest ever expansions of mobile coverage across regional and remote communities in Australia that is benefiting agriculture, transport, mining and tourism.'

'Telstra is proud to have been such an important part of this program in delivering 600 mobile base stations to date under the Mobile Black Spot Program and will deliver 1029 overall that includes 815  mobile base stations and 214 small cells.'