Saturday, 19 December 2015 11:37

Telstra fills ‘first’ mobile black spots with coverage


The first communities to benefits from ‘improved mobile coverage’ under the ‘Mobile Black Spot Programme’ are Cheepie and Marlborough in QLD and Deniliquin in NSW.

Thankfully, these three communities won’t be the last to benefit from the program, but are simply the first of 429 communities Australia-wide set to benefit from ‘additional 3G and 4G coverage provided by Telstra under the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Programme.’

There’s more good news, too: a number of additional sites are expected to be switched on before Christmas, even though Christmas is only 6 days away, in what will clearly be a bit of additional connected Christmas cheers for the people surrounding the sites in question.

Telstra’s Group MD of Networks, Mike Wright, said the expansion of mobile coverage in Cheepie, Marlborough and Deniliquin was ‘another example of Telstra’s ability to work with the Government to deliver innovative programs that expand services to regional and rural Australia.’

Wright said: This is a significant step in Telstra’s efforts to deliver improved mobile coverage to regional communities across Australia. “The growing use of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets are changing the way we live and we are acutely aware of the challenges facing communities living with limited access to a mobile network.

“Expanding coverage to these black spots ensures local communities can keep in contact with family and friends and run their businesses more effectively, whether it’s chatting on the phone or using a range of online services over our fast mobile internet network.

“As the first carrier to bring 4G mobile services to regional Australia, we know how important high-speed mobile can be to supporting local businesses and education and we are excited to bring it to even more parts of Australia.

“Over the next three years, we will upgrade or build mobile base stations in black spots across regional Australia, connecting them via Telstra’s Mobile Network without equal and significantly expanding mobile coverage in the area,” said Wright.

The three year timeframe caveat here is that the ‘rollout schedule [is] to be determined in consultation with Federal and State Governments and subject to planning process,’ but clearly, it is happening.

Telstra explains that the ‘Mobile Black Spot Programme involves investment of more than $340 million in regional Australia, with $165 million from Telstra, $94.8 million from the Federal Government and tens of millions in targeted additional funding from State and Local Governments.’

In addition to the new mobile base stations, Telstra will install 250 Small Cells to deliver high speed 4G data services in some small country towns where suitable Telstra infrastructure is available. Telstra will also continue to invest its own funds to expand its mobile coverage in regional areas.

Telstra advises that the location of these ‘Smalls Cells’ [is] to be determined based on consultation with the Federal Government.

More below, please read on. 

Wright added: “Australia is big a country and we are proud to play a major part in this important initiative, which will connect so many more regional communities.

“It builds upon significant investment already undertaken by Telstra to expand and upgrade our wireless networks for the long term. In total, over three years to June 2017 we expect to have invested more than $5 billion into Telstra’s mobile network,” concluded Wright.

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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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