The SA Government says the new base stations will boost mobile phone coverage in black spots in the mid north, south east and Riverland regions of the state.
And, it says it has awarded the funds to Optus to build and operate the four base stations with high safety risk ratings including Wasleys, an area where black spots impacted on safety during the 2015 Pinery bushfire, Sevenhill in the Clare Valley, Yahl near Mount Gambier and Blanchetown in the Riverland.
According to the government, the base stations will ensure around 2100 residents, schools and businesses within a 10-km radius of the towers will have increased 4G coverage, with better call experiences and faster, more reliable mobile internet use.
In round two of the black spot programme, the federal government announced Telstra and Optus would construct 20 base stations in South Australia using a $1.3 million co-contribution from the state government.
And, in December, federal Liberal MP Tony Pasin told ABC Radio that “round three doesn’t require a contribution from the state government. This means the state government will not contribute funding to round three, which is why funding for these towers has now been announced outside of the program”.
South Australia’s Science and Information Economy Minister, Kyam Maher, said on Tuesday that the state government was co-funding the four new mobile phone base stations “after the federal government chose to hand back one third of the money we committed to address priority black spots”.
“These four sites, in addition to the 20 sites currently under construction under round two of the mobile black spot programme, mean more than 6000 people will have much better mobile phone and Internet coverage in regional South Australia.
“In addition, tourists, visitors, local businesses to these areas will benefit from new and improved mobile coverage.”