$20 million to boost mobile coverage along urban fringes

Communities on the fringes of major urban centres in bushfire prone areas are set to share in $20 million in Commonwealth investment to upgrade mobile coverage, with Round 2 of the Peri-Urban Mobile Program (PUMP) now open for applications.


The second round of PUMP will provide grant funding to Mobile Network Operators (MNO) and Mobile Network Infrastructure Providers to deliver new or upgraded mobile phone infrastructure that targets longstanding mobile coverage and reception issues. Infrastructure sharing will again be encouraged through this round to ensure the benefits of the funding flows as widely as possibly amongst communities.     


Eligible areas under the latest round have been expanded to include major regional cities across Australia like Geelong, the Gold Coast and Newcastle, along with the peri-urban edges of major capital cities.

The peri-urban fringe is where the bush meets the suburbs, creating bushfire risks for those living and working in these areas. Communities in many of these areas have generally been underserved because of the high cost of deploying infrastructure, difficult terrain, planning challenges and lower population densities. 


A Project Noticeboard has been established to help local councils and community groups identify mobile coverage and quality of service issues in their area to assist telcos develop new infrastructure proposals for the round. The Noticeboard will be open until applications close.


PUMP complements work of the Albanese Government to improve telecommunications and broadcasting resilience across Australia through its $1.1 billion Better Connectivity Plan – the most significant investment in regional communications since the creation of the National Broadband Network.


Other programs to improve the network resilience include the Commonwealth’s $20 million Broadcasting Resilience Program to safeguard ABC broadcast towers, and the $15 million Mobile Network Hardening Program, and the $50 million Telecommunications Disaster Resilience Innovation Program to deploy innovative solutions to address communications issues during natural disasters.


Applications close on 18 March 2024. MNOs and Mobile Network Infrastructure Providers can apply at grants.gov.au

For more information on PUMP, visit infrastructure.gov.au/pump  


Quotes attributable to Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:


"Having access to reliable coverage is an essential part of modern life.

“That’s why the Albanese Government is committed to improving mobile coverage across Australia, including along our peri-urban fringes to ensure local communities can stay in touch and receive information when they need it most.


“I encourage telcos, communities and other interested parties to work together to submit applications that will deliver new or improved mobile coverage in these areas”.