Australia’s Department of Communications and the Arts (DCA) has released guidelines for the fourth round of its ‘Mobile Black Spot Programme’, calling for applications from cellcos and infrastructure providers for the competitive assessment process. In a press release issued by the DCA it was noted that the government has committed AUD25 million (USD18 million) for this round of the programme. According to the regulator, the next phase of the project will look to continue enhancing coverage in regional and remote areas across Australia, and will specifically target mobile blackspot issues at regional and remote Public Interest Premises, including ‘economic centres, emergency services facilities, health facilities, educational facilities, indigenous community organisations, local government facilities and not-for-profit organisations’.
To support the latest phase, the government recently reopened the National Mobile Black Spot Database for nominations from local, state and territory governments, as well as senators and members of parliament. Although the database was closed last week (11 October), funding can still be sought for locations that are not on it, and mobile network operators and infrastructure providers have until 10 December 2018 to submit applications.
In related news, last week the DCA reported that ‘thousands of homes and businesses’ across the country had gained access to improved mobile coverage as a result of its mobile black spot programme. In so doing, it confirmed the activation of the 600th base transceiver station (BTS) to be constructed or upgraded as part of the programme, while adding that the first three rounds will have delivered a total of 867 BTS nationwide, once all work is complete