New towers to improve mobile coverage

New towers to improve mobile coverage

New mobile phone towers will be built at Cape Conran and Manorina (near Bellbird Creek) under round four of the Federal Government’ s $220 million Mobile Black Spot Program.

“Upgrading mobile phone towers are important steps to improve mobile phone coverage across the region, benefiting businesses and visitors,” Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, said.

“Connectivity in all its forms, including mobile phone and internet coverage, is critical to the economic growth and prosperity of regional Victoria.

“But more importantly, in emergency situations, like a car crash or bushfire, improved mobile phone coverage will help to save lives.

“The ability to stay connected will underpin job opportunities and the social fabric of our regions for decades to come.”

Twelve mobile phone base stations in Gippsland have been built or upgraded under previous rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Program at locations including Benambra, Buchan South, Bonang, Butcher’ s Ridge, Lake Tyers, Sarsfield, Tongio and Dargo.

Minister for Regional Services, Bridget McKenzie, said the two new base stations in Gippsland were among 180 to be built across Australia for regional and
remote communities.

“The announcement of successful round four base stations means 1047 base stations are being delivered under the Mobile Black Spot Program,” Minister McKenzie said.

“This reaffirms our commitment to delivering 21st century connectivity to our regions and will benefit thousands of Australians.

“Our continued investment in mobile phone infrastructure is proof we are focused on connecting all Australians no matter where they live.”

The Committee for Gippsland (C4G) has welcomed the announcement of the new mobile phone towers, but says there is still much work to be done.

C4G chief executive officer, Sophie Morell, said the committee had long campaigned for more reliable mobile coverage, which was essential for business and to help grow rural and regional economies.

“We congratulate the government on its ongoing commitment to regional digital connectivity,” Ms Morell said.

“This is another step in addressing the gap between regional and metropolitan connectivity, however there is still a long way to go.”

C4G recently completed a Digital Connectivity Engagement Project, which found mobile black spots and patchy access to reliable nbn were common themes across Gippsland.
Ms Morell said Telstra also recognised that more work was required in the region and had taken a proactive approach. C4G was established in 2011 to give its members, around 100 Gippsland-based businesses and community organisations, a cohesive and influential voice to positively influence government and other key decision-makers. The not-for-profit organisation represents all industry sectors and takes a whole-of-region approach, working to influence government policy to attract funding and achieve outcomes that benefit the region.

“Improving connectivity has both economic and social benefits, and the C4G will continue to advocate for additional investment to improve connectivity across Gippsland,” Ms Morell said.

The Mobile Black Spot Program enables mobile carriers to service areas where it would otherwise not be commercially viable. So far, the program is generating more than $760 million of new investment including contributions from state and local governments, mobile network operators, businesses and local communities.

Last week’s announcement focused on improving coverage in the regions and connectivity for premises such as medical facilities, schools and economic centres.

Base stations announced under the first three rounds of the program are expected to be operational by June 30, 2019. The first of the new base stations announced under round four should be activated by the second half of this year.

For more information about the program, visit the Federal Government’ s Mobile Black Spot Program online.

Licola will also have improved mobile phone access via a small cell upgrade.