Region benefits from mobile blackspot funding


Region benefits from mobile blackspot funding

The Orana region will soon benefit from improved mobile coverage, getting a share of the $385 million worth of funding announced today by the Australian Government.

Regional Development Australia Orana CEO, Felicity Taylor Edwards, has welcomed the funding of 7 new and upgraded mobile base stations in identified black spot locations across the region.

“Mobile connectivity is vitally important in terms of enhancing the productivity of modern workplaces and also public safety.”

“Regional Development Australia Orana has watched the Australian Government’s mobile black spot programme with some interest. When the programme was first raised in February last year, we called for comments from across the region, and I think we underestimated the passion people feel for this topic.”

“We had responses from as far away as outer-Perth and Mount Isa, all from people who were seeing that a lack of mobile connectivity was creating a larger divide between the regions and our metropolitan cousins. In calling for the region’s thoughts in that initial paper last year, we encouraged everyone to let the government know about their blackspots. Luckily, the region listened, and 7 projects have been successful in securing funding.”

In terms of location, one blackspot in the Dubbo Local Government Area has been funded (near Toongi), one in Wellington LGA (Mumbil), one in Walgett LGA (Pilliga) and four in the Mid-Western Region.

Regional Development Australia Orana’s initial response drew attention to the productivity gains that could be presented by improved mobile phone coverage for regional businesses. “The announcement of the tower in the Dubbo LGA is a great example of this,” said Felicity, “this was one of the blackspot’s highlighted in our initial submission.”

Of course, there is always room for more. “A further $60 million has been committed by the Government for Round 2 of the Programme, with funding to be available over two years from 1 July 2016. We could be disappointed that the funding didn’t spread too far west, but rather I see this as an opportunity for business, community and councils to mobilise, speak with the carriers and see how we can work collaboratively to make the most of the funds on offer.” 

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