Home Telecoms & NBN Optus to build 12 new mobile sites as part of fed govt's black spot programme

If the lack of Optus mobile coverage in specific locations in NSW, QLD and Tasmania is leaving you feeling black, Optus and the federal government's Mobile Black Spot programme will shine bright white with fresh new coverage.

If the Australian Government scratches the backs of telcos with black spot funding, telcos will scratch back by building the towers needed to illuminate new coverage in areas that clearly sorely need it.

This kind of funding is presumably there because the black spots in question just aren't economical for the telco to build on its own, so with government money in play, Optus can throw in some money of its own to ensure another set of black spots can be blown away.

So, with Optus announcing that it has "successfully secured funding to build 12 new mobile sites as part of the Priority round of the Australian Government’s Mobile Black Spot Programme" much needed mobile coverage and connectivity to regional communities is coming soon.

We're told that the 12 sites are "located across New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania and will cost $7.8 million to build, including $5.5 million in federal funding and a co-contribution of $2.3 million from Optus".

Andrew Sheridan, Optus vice-president of Regulatory and Public Affairs, said, “Enabling mobile coverage in regional Australia is a key priority for us and we are proud to be working in partnership with the Federal Government to make this happen. In the last 12 months we have delivered more than 350 new sites across regional Australia, with ambitious plans for the next 12 months already in place.

“Optus is already heavily invested in regional Australia and this important Government program will enable us to reach even more Australians in regional and rural locations around the country."

So, where are these 12 sites?

The 12 sites secured by Optus will include "Fullerton Cove and Mount Seaview in NSW, Alva Beach, Cedar Creek, Donnybrook, Moreton Island and Russell Island in Queensland and Beechford/Lefroy, Lachlan, Murdunna, Wilmot and Yolla in Tasmania".

Sheridan added: “These are all areas in need of improved mobile coverage. For us, this is about more than mobile coverage, it’s about giving Australians in rural areas the coverage that they need to stay connected with their family and friends and deliver for their business."

We're also told that, as part of the programme, "each of the new sites will be fitted with battery back-up capability of 12 hours helping to mitigate potential power outages at an additional government-funded cost".

And, in addition to these 12 sites, Optus says it "plans to invest in four of the government’s Priority locations as part of its future rollout plan", and that the "Minister for Regional Communications, Bridget McKenzie, welcomed the news".

McKenzie said: “I am pleased to see that Optus recognises the coverage problems many of these communities’ face, and that it is moving to address the issues.

“The planned rollout by Optus at Lake Tyers Beach (VIC), Lake Clifton (WA), Ningi (QLD) and Sandstone Point (QLD) builds on the government’s investment in regional Australia.”

So, what is a further update on the Optus and federal government black spot eradication program?

Well, Optus tell us that it is "currently rolling out 114 federal funded sites across Australia as part of the second-round of the programme. A total of 38 Optus co-funded Black Spot sites are already live, providing much needed coverage to communities in those areas".

Sheridan concluded: “We have already rolled out more than 38 black spot sites across regional Australia since the programme was introduced, giving communities mobile coverage so they can stay in touch with friends and family."

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

 

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