Australia’s Coalition Government has named the locations of the first 78 mobile base stations scheduled to be constructed by the end of June 2016 under the first round of the country’s AUD385 million (USD275 million) Mobile Black Spot Programme. So far, the state confirmed, a total of 19 mobile base stations have already been completed, while the first six-month rollout schedule lists those new or upgraded base stations to be built in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.
Due for completion over the next three years, 499 new or upgraded base stations will be rolled out as part of the programme, with an updated rollout schedule to be produced half-yearly. In the first phase of the project around 68,600 square kilometres of new handheld coverage and more than 150,000 square kilometres of new external antenna coverage are expected to be provided, bringing mobile coverage to around 3,000 mobile black spot locations nominated by members of the public.
With public nominations for black spots to be tackled by round two of the programme having closed last month, chosen locations are expected to be announced by the end of 2016, with a competitive selection process for the funding to be announced ‘in the coming weeks’.
In detailing the project progress, the government said that the overall plans represented ‘the most significant one-time increase in mobile network coverage to regional and remote Australia delivered by a single public funding programme in the history of mobile communications in Australia’.