Federal Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, the Hon Mark Coulton MP, said residents and travellers in his electorate are on track to benefit from improved mobile coverage.
Mr Coulton today announced the Parkes electorate will receive four new base stations under Round 5 of the Morrison McCormack Government’s highly successful $380 million Mobile Black Spot Program, along with Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher.
“Today’s announcement specifically addresses mobile black spot issues throughout four rural localities in the Orana/Western Plains region, with base stations to be established at Gin Gin, Haddon Rig, Kickabil and Mullengudgery,” Mr Coulton said.
“I’m thrilled families and businesses in these areas will soon have better phone service to make calls, browse the internet and stay connected with family and friends, provided by these new base stations.
“Improved mobile coverage will also help families access quality education and health services.
“Our Mobile Black Spot Program is connecting regional communities and businesses, enabling them to contribute more effectively to our local, regional and national economies.”
Mr Coulton said today’s announcement brings the total base stations funded in the Parkes electorate under the Mobile Black Spot Program to 16, representing a $2.6 million Federal Government investment.
Minister Fletcher said Round 5 of the program will fund a further 182 new base stations for regional and remote communities across Australia.
“The announcement of successful Round 5 locations today brings the total number of base stations being funded under the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program to 1,229, underlining our ongoing commitment to providing new and improved mobile connectivity to Australians across the country,” Minister Fletcher said.
“Improved mobile connectivity makes it possible for Australians to stay connected, access education services, conduct business and remain in contact with family and friends. These activities are critical year-round, but particularly important with people responding to the COVID-19 crisis and spending more time at home.”
The Federal Government is contributing a total of $34 million to Round 5 of the Program, which will deliver total new investment of more than $73 million together with co-contributions from the funding recipients and state governments.
More than $836 million is being invested in new mobile infrastructure in regional and remote Australia across the five rounds.
This comes as the Mobile Black Spot Program passes a significant milestone with more than 800 mobile base stations now on air across Australia, meaning more coverage in more rural areas.
Round 5 base stations are scheduled to roll out in the coming months with the first new base stations expected to be activated by the end of the year.
To view the full list of Round 5 locations visit, or to provide feedback on the discussion paper on the design of future rounds, visit: communications.gov.au/mbsp
Photo Caption: Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Communications, Mark Coulton (right) with Field Solutions Chief Operating Officer, Philippe Benoliel (left) and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Roberts (middle), at Gin Gin on Monday – one of the many rural locations set to benefit from improved mobile coverage under the Mobile Black Spot Program.
Mobile Black Spot Program Round 5 – Parkes electorate
|Provider||Location||Public Interest Premise/
|Field Solutions||Gin Gin||PIP||Macrocell|
|Telstra||Haddon Rig||MC||Small Cell|
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Quotes from industry
Nikos Katinakis, Telstra’s Group Executive of Networks and IT, said, “In challenging times it is important people can remain as connected to each other as possible, whether that is through remote schooling, working from home or just staying socially connected through video calling and social media. We are proud that we have delivered hundreds of mobile base stations and invested $280 million to deliver coverage to our most regional and remote customers.”
Andrew Roberts, CEO of Field Solutions said: “Field Solutions has been delivering true broadband solutions for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia for the last four years. Now with the backing of the Federal Government mobile black spot program, we are proud to pioneer the delivery of our multi-use tower strategy ensuring the delivery of both true broadband and mobile phone coverage is achieved.”
Round 5A – The Government has allocated funding for all Round 5 proposals that offer value for money to taxpayers and meet the guidelines for the round. Of the $80 million made available, $34 million has been successfully allocated.
The Government intends that the next step in the Mobile Black Spots program will be to conduct a Round 5A, which will be used to test a range of different program designs. Funding for round 5A will be drawn from the unused portion of the funding allocated to Round 5.
The existing program design has served Australia very well. However, with each successive round, the base stations being funded are less economic for the mobile network operators. This fact, and the results from Round 5, suggest there may remain only a limited number of additional sites which are likely to be successfully funded if future rounds are held under the existing program design.
The discussion paper to consult on the different program designs which could be tested under the future Round 5A has been released today.
The paper proposes three main objectives for this round:
- to improve mobile connectivity along major transport corridors;
- to improve mobile connectivity in disaster-prone regions; and
- to test new technologies that support shared mobile coverage in regional areas.
A decision on the timing of Round 5A will be taken once responses to the discussion paper have been received and considered.