The Boreen Point and Cootharaba areas are among 76 Queensland locations to gain new or upgraded mobile base stations in the second round of Mobile Black Spot Funding Program. This follows Kin Kin’s inclusion last year in the first round of the Mobile Black Spot Program.
The Queensland Government and Australian telcos support the Australian Government program, with Noosa Council also making a cash contribution toward the two new local towers.
Optus was the successful mobile service provider applicant for the local towers.
The Australian Government has committed $220 million to the Mobile Black Spot Program to invest in telecommunications infrastructure to improve mobile coverage along major regional transport routes, in small communities and in locations prone to natural disasters.
Together rounds 1 and 2 will deliver almost $600 million in new investment towards improving mobile coverage in regional and remote Australia. This $600 million investment is enabling the delivery of:
- 765 new and upgrade mobile base stations
- 86,300 square kilometres of new and upgraded handheld coverage
- 202,300 square kilometres of new external antenna coverage
- over 7,600 kilometres new coverage to major transport routes.
Round 1 of the Mobile Black Spot Program is already delivering 499 new and upgraded mobile base stations across the country with a collective cost of $385 million. The Australian Government funding for round 1 has been supplemented by Telstra ($165 million) and Vodafone ($20 million).
The first round 1 base stations commenced rolling out in December 2015. The full rollout of all 499 mobile base stations funded under round 1 is expected to occur over three years. The rollout sequence is being determined by Telstra and Vodafone based on various factors, such as obtaining local government planning approval and landowner agreement where necessary, and/or the ability to access existing infrastructure, power and backhaul. Council welcomed the inclusion of Kin Kin in the round 1 roll out with the installation of a new mobile phone base station. This came about after Council and the local community put Kin Kin’s case for mobile phone infrastructure to the government in response to calls from the community.
Belli Park, immediately south west of Noosa Shire also benefited from new infrastructure.
On 1 December 2016, the Australian Government announced that round 2 of the program will deliver 266 new or upgraded mobile base stations across the country.
These mobile base stations will collectively provide:
- new and upgraded handheld coverage to over 17,700 square kilometres of regional and remote Australia
- new external antenna coverage to over 52,300 square kilometres
- new mobile coverage to over 1,900 kilometres of major transport routes
The mobile base stations will also provide additional benefits for customers of each carrier through the extension of that carrier’s network. In addition to the 17,700 square kilometres of totally new handheld coverage, the base stations will provide an estimated additional 22,500 square kilometres of handheld coverage that overlaps with coverage provided by other carriers’ networks. Round 2 will see a total of $213 million (GST incl.) being invested in new mobile base station infrastructure. Noosa residents in Boreen Point and Cootharabah will be the beneficiaries of round 2 funding with new infrastructure expected.
The first round 2 base stations are expected to commence rolling out in 2017. The successful applicants (Telstra, Optus and Vodafone) will release indicative rollout schedules on their websites shortly. These schedules will be regularly updated as the rollout progresses.
The Australian Government has committed an additional $60 million to a third round of funding. As part of this commitment, the Australian Government has announced a number of priority locations which may receive funding for a mobile base station under round 3. A competitive process to allocate round 3 funding is expected to commence in 2017.
The Federal Government's Department of Communications and the Arts website has further information on the plans to improve mobile phone coverage in regional and remote Australia.