Albanese Government opens consultation on draft guidelines to improve mobile coverage
The Albanese Government has opened consultation on draft guidelines to deliver on its $40 million Federal Election commitment to address problem black spots in identified areas across the country.
Feedback from the telecommunications industry and local communities will inform the Grant Opportunity Guidelines for the $40 million Improving Mobile Coverage Round (IMCR) of the Mobile Black Spot Program (MBSP). The IMCR was funded in the 2022-23 Federal Budget.
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 motorists 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.
Interested parties are encouraged to have their say on the draft Guidelines by 5pm (AEDT), Monday, 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.
Quotes attributable to the Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:
“The Albanese Government’s Better Connectivity Plan for Regional and Rural Australia delivers on commitments to improve the digital quality-of-life and bridge the digital divide for Australians – no matter where they live. The Budget also contains $400 million to expand mobile coverage and boost communications resilience, and the Department expects to begin consultations on this next year.
“This new dedicated funding will address known mobile communications issues at 54 target locations, improving the reliability of local coverage of families, small businesses and motorists.
“Improving mobile coverage is critical for vibrant and growing regional communities. Enhancing connectivity through the IMCR will support economic and social activity, as well as public safety in underserved areas of rural and regional Australia.
“I encourage industry and community stakeholders to contribute their feedback on the guidelines for this important program”.