The new site is being co-funded by Optus – Australia’s second largest telco - and the Federal and NSW Governments as part of round 2 of the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program.
Optus says the tower is designed to provide enhanced coverage to more than 250 premises and 35 kms of roadways including Darby Falls Road and Reg Hailstone Way, offering local residents “dedicated and reliable mobile coverage for the first time”.
Andrew Sheridan, Optus’ Vice President of Regulatory and Public Affairs said, “Bringing much-needed mobile coverage to rural communities like Mt McDonald is important for residents. It not only means greater safety for people living, working and driving through these areas by unlocking access to communication but it also helps to facilitate contact with family and friends.”
“Investing in mobile base stations creates opportunities for agriculture and small businesses as well as health and education services; in turn benefitting the local economies of these regional areas.”
The new facility provides coverage for calls, text and data services across Optus’ 4G and 3G network.
“The Mt McDonald site will enhance coverage along the roads connecting Darby Falls, Woodstock and Wyangala, and is vital for those driving through these areas to be able to access reliable mobile reception,” Sheridan added.
“Optus’ mobile black spot sites have resulted in over 350,000 hours of calls, carried over 7.2 million new calls and served over 1,000,000 individual users; reflecting our commitment to enabling a greater availability of mobile services for our customers no matter where they live.
“This program delivers valuable opportunities for these regional communities, allowing areas to remain competitive with access to the same resources as the rest of Australia.”
Member for Riverina and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said he was delighted to see another mobile phone tower activated in the region.
“I am pleased to have helped deliver a mobile base station for Mount McDonald and surrounding communities,” Minister McCormack said.
“This new tower builds on the improved coverage across regional Australia, with 23 towers secured around the Riverina and Central West.
“But I know there is more to be done to continue delivering improved coverage for rural and regional Australians, which is why the Government has invested a further $160 million to secure two more rounds of the successful Mobile Black Spot Program to complement the more than 1,000 towers across regional Australia.”
Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, Mark Coulton, said the Government is committed to delivering access to reliable communications in the regions.
“The Mobile Black Spot Program is changing the lives of rural and regional Australians across the country, providing communities with the phone service they need to stay connected, conduct business and access education services,” Minister Coulton said.
“This Government’s commitment to building mobile base stations has made close to 25,000 additional Triple 0 calls to be made.
“Under the first four rounds of the program funding has been committed to deliver 1047 new base stations, thanks to more than $760 million in co-investment, bringing new and improved mobile coverage to areas like Mt McDonald.”