Throughout the pandemic, demand for connectivity has surged. We’re on a mission to improve coverage in rural and regional Australia to ensure the thirst for data is quenched. As part of this project, we’re bringing a communications boost to rural and remote communities in North Queensland.
We’re partnering on the lion’s share of the Federal Government’s North Queensland Telecommunications and Energy Improvement projects, making Telstra the largest telco partner on this program.
It means that we’ll be building mobile base stations, satellite small cells, and will provide battery backup solutions to vastly improve our existing 4G mobile coverage in the region.
Cloncurry, Carpentaria and McKinlay shires are just some of the communities to benefit from these projects that will provide improved connectivity for residents, farmers and tourists, and will be particularly important during natural disaster events like floods.
Strong coverage is something many of us take for granted, but if you’re running a business or get into trouble on the roads, connectivity is vital. It’s the difference between making a sale and not; attending a class and not; or being able to call for help in times of unexpected trouble.
We’re going full steam ahead to make sure that regional and rural Australia have the connectivity they need for the future.
This new grant program joins a host of funding we’re injecting into regional and rural Australia to strengthen the connectivity backbone.
We have earmarked $150 million for regional infrastructure over the next 12 months, and committed a further $200 million to encourage co-investment with governments and businesses to improve connectivity in regional Australia over the next four years. We are also co-funding new mobile towers and improved high-speed broadband services across 72 communities that need it the most as part of the Federal Government’s Regional Connectivity Program.
And under the Federal Government Mobile Black Spot Program, we’ve invested more than three times more funding than the rest of the industry put together, and we’re building more than two thirds of all mobile base stations jointly funded under the program – that’s around 930 new sites to improve coverage for regional areas around the country.
We will also be pouring an additional $75 million from the part sale of our Telstra InfraCo Towers business to bolster this vast program of work.
As the digital economy accelerates around us, we can’t let regional Australia fall behind. The promise of connectivity has to be one that’s fulfilled for all Australians. That way, the kids of Cloncurry Shire and Potts Point can sit in the same virtual classrooms together to learn and share knowledge. Rural businesses can compete on the digital High Street and everyone who needs it can have a virtual appointment with their doctor, whether they’re down the road or on the other side of the country.