A total of 182 new base transceiver stations (BTS) will be delivered under the fifth round of the Australian government’s AUD380 million (USD242 million) ‘Mobile Black Spot Programme’, bringing the total number of BTS funded under the programme to 1,229. In a press release regarding the matter, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (DITRDC) noted that, together with co-contributions from the funding recipients and state governments, ‘Round Five’ of the programme will deliver more than AUD73 million in new infrastructure investment, including AUD34 million in Commonwealth funding. According to the regulator, to date the Mobile Black Spot Programme has enabled the construction of more than 800 mobile base stations across the country and generated more than AUD836 million of new investment in mobile infrastructure.
With the Round 5 rollout expected to commence ‘shortly’, and the first new BTS set to be activated ‘later this year’, the government has also released a discussion paper to consult on options for the design of the next round of the programme. The DITRDC has noted that this upcoming round (‘Round 5A’) will use uncommitted funds from ‘Round Five’ to continue to expand and improve mobile coverage in regional and remote Australia. The consultation is accepting submissions until 19 June 2020.