25/06/2015 - 13:38

130 new mobile towers to boost regional coverage

25/06/2015 - 13:38

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The state government has announced an expansion of its Mobile Black Spot program, with plans for 130 new or upgraded mobile phone towers across regional and remote areas of Western Australia.

Telstra's regional mobile phone towers. Image courtesy of Telstra.

The state government has announced an expansion of its Mobile Black Spot program, with plans for 130 new or upgraded mobile phone towers across regional and remote areas of Western Australia.

Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the federal and state governments would jointly fund the delivery of 109 of 130 new or upgraded mobile base stations for a total investment of $118 million, with the Commonwealth contributing about $30 million and the state bringing in $32 million from its Royalties for Regions-funded Regional Telecommunications project, leaving telco Telstra with the outstanding amount.

Telstra area general manager Guy Champion said over the next three years, the new towers would be installed across the state to significantly expand mobile coverage.

"As the first carrier to bring 4G mobile services to regional Australia, we know how important high-speed mobile can be to supporting local businesses, tourism and education so we are also continuing the expansion of our 4G and 4GX services," he said.

The new stations are an increase from the 85 originally planned under the RTP, and are in addition to 23 sites previously announced under the program, which cost $10 million.

It brings the total new stations in the state to 266.

“The 130 sites are predominately focused on small communities and strategic locations in the southern half of the state, following on from the previous Regional Mobile Communications project, which targeted small communities and transport corridors primarily in the north of the state,” Mr Mischin said.

Lands Minister Terry Redman said the program would improve mobile coverage along major transport routes in WA, in small communities and in locations prone to experiencing natural disasters, as well as addressing unique mobile coverage problems.

“This first project and the current $45 million RTP brings the state government’s total investment in building phone towers in regional WA to $85 million since 2011,” he said.

Mr Mischin said some of the highest priority areas include Salmon Holes, Mt Frankland West and Tindale Road Plantagenet in the South West.

“In addition, the entire route from Minilya to Exmouth will be covered to promote public safety and tourism development and three towers will cover the length of the Ferguson Valley in the South West to improve community amenity and tourism,” Mr Mischin said.

“Most notably, more than 30 communities in the Wheatbelt will receive coverage for the first time to boost economic development.”

Mr Redman said connectivity was fundamental to improving the productivity, competitive standing and wellbeing of regional WA.

 

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