Australian mobile network operator (MNO) Telstra has announced that over the course of the next four years it will lead a co-investment fund aimed at enhancing and extending coverage in rural and regional areas. In a press release regarding the matter, the MNO said it aims ‘to stimulate infrastructure co-investment with governments, local councils and businesses in areas that would otherwise be difficult to justify on economic grounds’.
According to the operator, it will invest AUD150 million (USD116 million) over the next year to improve networks in regional, rural and remote Australia, to: boost coverage at popular destination spots; fund capacity upgrades; ensure that 3G-only sites have access to 4G; build new 4G sites; and develop technology for long-range sites with small cells and satellite backhaul.
Meanwhile, Telstra notes that a AUD200 million co-investment fund, paired with its additional AUD150 million, is backed up by and in addition to several projects it has recently been awarded by the Federal Government. The operator will work with the state through the latter’s ‘Regional Connectivity Programme’ to help power AUD55 million-worth of network upgrades, and it claims to be ‘the only major mobile provider to both win projects and commit funding to improve services’. In addition, Telstra is participating in the government’s ‘Mobile Black Spot Programme’, where it claims to have put up more than double the capital investment of the rest of the industry put together to build more than two thirds of the mobile black spot towers in the programme.