The Commonwealth and Western Australian Governments have today announced the first 10 from a total of 130 new or upgraded mobile base stations scheduled to be constructed in Western Australia under Round 1 of the $385 million Mobile Black Spot Programme.
New or upgraded base stations in East Yuna, Ferguson Valley, Grass Valley, Kununoppin, Minilya, Nabawa, Naraling, South Yuna and West River are scheduled to be constructed by the end of July 2016 in Western Australia, with one base station in Ajana already operational.
Under Round 1 of the programme, the Coalition Government's $100 million investment leveraged an additional $32 million in co-contribution from the Western Australian Government as well as substantial co-contributions from mobile network operators, local governments and third parties. In total, 130 base stations will be built in WA over the next three years, with 363 of the 533 mobile black spots nominated in Western Australia to be addressed by handheld or external antenna coverage (or both).
WA Minister for Commerce Michael Mischin said the programme was part of the WA Government's ongoing commitment to provide greater connectivity for regional communities and improve safety and emergency service capabilities.
"Today's announcement builds on the 113 mobile towers established under the State Government's $44 million Regional Mobile Communications Project, which was completed in 2014, and 23 sites to be completed by the end of June 2016 under the State Government's $49.5 million Regional Telecommunications Project," Mr Mischin said.
WA Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the new mobile stations were in strategic locations aimed at improving public safety and productivity in regional WA.
"Telecommunication connectivity is vital to social and economic development in regional areas and these new base stations will further break down the digital divide between regional and urban WA," Mr Redman said.
The national rollout of 499 new or upgraded base stations will be completed over the next three years and the rollout schedule will be updated regularly with the most up-to-date information from mobile network operators of the new base stations scheduled to be built.
Consultation with local communities is an important step in the successful rollout of any major infrastructure programme, including the Mobile Black Spot Programme. Timeframes for the rollout of new base stations can vary widely, typically due to local government development approval processes, community consultation periods and other local factors.
Under Round 1 of the Programme, the Coalition Government's $100 million investment leveraged an additional $88 million in co-contributions from the Governments of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania, as well as substantial co-contributions from Telstra and Vodafone, local governments and third parties to establish a total funding package of $385 million.
This is the most significant one-time increase in mobile network coverage to regional and remote Australia delivered by a single public funding programme in the history of mobile communications in Australia.
The full rollout of 499 new or upgraded base stations from Round 1 of the Programme will provide 68,600 square kilometres of new handheld coverage and more than 150,000 square kilometres of new external antenna coverage, providing mobile coverage to some 3,000 mobile black spot locations nominated by members of the public.
Public nominations for black spots to be considered under Round 2 of the Programme closed last month, with an additional $60 million in funding announced for Round 2 in June 2015. The new locations to be funded under Round 2 are expected to be revealed by the end of 2016, with a competitive selection process for the funding to be announced in the coming weeks.
More information about the Programme and the rollout schedule is available at http://www.communications.gov.au/mobile_coverage
Commerce Minister's office - 6552 5600
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700