People in rural and remote areas who have poor mobile phone service are encouraged to make their case known to the Department of Communications – and encourage their local Council to become involved.
The Abbott Government has set aside $100 million for a Mobile Coverage Programme to improve mobile phone coverage, including in mobile black spots. The money is to be invested in telecommunications network infrastructure to improve both coverage of high quality terrestrial mobile voice and wireless broadband services in rural and remote Australia, and competition in the provision of such services.
People living in rural and remote areas and entities such as local Councils should ensure that their local black spot or reception anomaly is known to the Department, so that it may be included in one or both parts of the Mobile Coverage Programme.
The $80 million Mobile Network Expansion Project is to improve mobile coverage along major transport routes, in small communities and in areas that are prone to experiencing natural disasters. This $80 million will be provided to one or more of the three mobile network operators (Optus, Telstra and Vodafone) to deliver services to communities identified on a list of locations that currently receive poor, or no, mobile coverage.
People in rural areas should read the Department's Discussion Paper and encourage their local Council to engage with the plans for the expenditure of the $80 million if your mobile coverage is poor. If you or they have a preference for the way the mobile network operators are involved in the expansion project, write in to support whichever of the three proposed plans you think will be best.
The $20 million Mobile Black Spots Project is to improve mobile coverage in locations with unique coverage problems, such as areas with high demand for services during seasonal holiday periods.
If your local area is not included in plans for the expenditure of the $80 million, you can put in an expression of interest to provide a co-contribution to a local solution (through establishment of a mobile base station).
Details about the Programme, including how to make a submission, can be found at
Submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted and must be with the Department by 28 February.
Further information about the Mobile Coverage Programme can be obtained by contacting the Department of Communications via the above email address or by phone on 1800 113 486.