The Australian government has allocated A$160 million ($114.1 million) towards extending the national Mobile Black Spot Program for a further two rounds.
The funding for rounds five and six of the program, which aims to fill gaps in mobile coverage in regional and remote communities, will be used primarily to help improve coverage at public interest premises such as medical facilities, schools and economic centers.
The additional commitment brings the current government's funding in the program to A$380 million. So far 1,047 new base stations will be delivered under the program at a total cost of A$760 million. Of these, 682 have been switched on nationally.
Additional funding is being provided by local and state governments, mobile operators, businesses and community organizations.
Applications from operators, businesses and local communities for round four of the program recently closed. This round will see 180 new base stations constructed, including 73 which will specifically target public interest premises.
“Fast and reliable connectivity is essential to ensure regional areas remain competitive with access to the same business and study opportunities as the rest of Australia. We’re ensuring our regions are not left behind,” Australian minister for regional services and deputy leader senator Bridget McKenzie said.
“All stakeholders are strongly encouraged to submit an application when we open the tender process and take advantage of the additional rounds under this fantastic program.”
Image credit: iStock photo