Cheepie and Marlborough in Queensland along with Denillquin in NSW will get increased 3G and 4G coverage from Telstra as part of the federal government’s mobile blackspot program.
The three communities are the first of 429 places to receive improved coverage, with Telstra switching on the first new towers as part of the program.
The mobile blackspot program includes investment of $340 million in regional Australia, with $165 million from Telstra, $94.8 million from the federal government and tens of millions in targeted funding from state and local governments.
According to the government, the mobile blackspots program will deliver mobile coverage to 68,600 square kilometres (150,000 square kilometres with external antennas).
In June, the federal government announced that the program will help fund 429 Telstra base stations and 70 Vodafone base stations.
The base stations funded under the program are spread throughout the country: NSW (144), Victoria (110), Queensland (68), Western Australia (130), South Australia (11), Tasmania (31) and the Northern Territory (5).
In addition to new mobile base stations, Telstra will install 250 4G small cells to deliver data services in some small country towns where suitable infrastructure is available. Telstra will also invest its own funds to expand its mobile coverage in regional areas.
The government earlier this month opened nominations for the second round of the blackspot program.
Vodafone begins improved NSW coverage
Vodafone switched on its first mobile blackspot site at White Rock Wind Farm near Glen Innes in the New England region of NSW today.
Vodafone CEO Inaki Berroeta said the site not only provides coverage in the surrounding area but extends to nine other mobile blackspot areas identified in the program.
This includes Gwydir Highway (between Inverell and Glen Innes), Kings Plains, Matherson Valley, Nullamanna and Spring Mountain.
The blackspot site was built with the help of the Inverell Shire Council who contributed $20,000.
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According to Berroeta, the telco has committed $4.5 million to the New England region including plans to expand mobile coverage by over 2000 square kilometres under the program. It also opened a Vodafone retail store at Armidale in August.