QUEENSLAND communities can look forward to improved mobile phone coverage, with 76 new or upgraded mobile phone base stations announced under a joint Commonwealth-State Government funding arrangement.
The Queensland Government will co-fund 72 tower locations with the Commonwealth Government, Telstra, Optus and councils under Round 2 of the national Mobile Black Spot Program.
A further four locations were successful in being awarded federal funding under the program for Optus satellite small cells.
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Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said the state had committed $15 million in the 2016-17 state budget to further improve mobile coverage throughout Queensland.
“Mobile coverage can be a life or death matter for people dealing with natural disasters but it is also important for everyday life, business, tourism, education and social connection,” Ms Enoch said.
“Providing mobile coverage at key points along remote roads is critical for locals and tourists alike.
“In this round of funding, for example, the Burke and Wills roadhouse (Four Ways) location in the Cloncurry shire will have improved mobile coverage with co-funding by the state government in partnership with three separate councils.”
The Queensland Government will commit $13.67 million of the $15 million allocation for Round 2, with the remaining funds to be allocated to future mobile coverage improvement projects, yet to be determined.
Across the two rounds of the program, the State Government has committed just under $24 million to deliver 144 new and improved mobile base stations to communities from all parts of the state.
The latest funding will benefit townships such as Injinoo, Ayton and Cape Tribulation in Far North Queensland, locations in remote western shires such as Cloncurry, and in South-East Queensland such as Kholo and Wongawallan.
“It is pleasing to see the positive impacts that the state’s co-funding assistance in providing improved coverage for both handheld devices and external telecommunication aerials is having on communities so far,” Ms Enoch said.
“Townships such as Clarke Creek for example are now receiving mobile coverage to households, businesses, government services and the local school and residents in the Jambin area now have improved mobile coverage which was identified as critical for improved public safety in the wake of Cyclone Marcia in 2015.”
The Australian Government Mobile Black Spot Program is a three-year program with construction of Queensland’s first round towers currently underway throughout the state.
To date, 19 towers announced in Round 1 have been installed. Round 2 tower rollout will occur over the next two years.
In addition to the 144 mobile base stations awarded to Queensland, at least 80 Telstra 4G small cells will be deployed throughout the State.
These were secured separately by the State and Commonwealth Governments in Round 1 arrangements with Telstra.
A number of these locations were announced by the Commonwealth Government in August, and the remainder will be finalised by the State in coming months.