Thursday, 1 December 2016
The funding supports the list of 78 sites, released today by the Australian Government, of mobile base stations and small cell satellite installations to be constructed by Telstra and Optus.
While Telstra is providing wide area coverage, Optus' small cell satellite solution is an innovative means of providing mobile phone coverage up to a three-kilometre radius for communities and tourist hotspots in remote parts of the State, where wide area coverage is unaffordable.
The new sites will be delivered under Round 2 of the Commonwealth's Mobile Black Spot Program, supported by the Liberal National Government's Royalties for Regions program.
Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the State Government's significant investment, of more than $105 million since 2012 in regional telecommunications, was driving the construction of 344 new or upgraded mobile phone towers and small cell satellite installations in regional WA.
"More than 146 sites have already been switched on in regional WA since 2012, with another 198 to be rolled out by the end of 2019," Mr Mischin said.
"This new investment will provide development opportunities for small businesses in remote areas and ensure that people living, working and travelling in regional areas of the State have access to key services."
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the project aimed to narrow the digital divide by eliminating mobile black spots at prioritised locations across regional WA.
"This successful collaboration with the Commonwealth and industry will provide development opportunities for small businesses in remote areas, and mobile connectivity to support other Royalties for Regions initiatives in tourism, transport and agriculture," Mr Redman said.
"Tourism is a big winner with new coverage at 10 popular national parks, including Karijini in the Pilbara, Leeuwin-Naturaliste in the South-West and Cape Le Grand near Esperance.
"Mobile service will also be introduced at seven popular visitor sites along the iconic Gibb River Road in the Kimberley, and coverage gaps will be eliminated along a 600 kilometre stretch of the Great Northern Highway between Wubin and Narracoota."