Under Round Four of the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program, we’re building 131 new mobile base stations and small cells to remove black spots and improve coverage for customers living in regional and remote areas.

In Round Four of the Mobile Black Spot Program, we’re contributing $23.3 million of the $55.6 million co-investment required for the new sites, alongside $18 million from the Commonwealth and $14.3 million from the Queensland, SA, Victorian and WA State Governments.

In this round of the Mobile Black Spot Program we will deliver 49 sites to New South Wales, 18 to Queensland, 19 to South Australia, 22 to Victoria and 23 to Western Australia. Many of these locations also address coverage at nearby public interest areas, like tourist attractions and health and emergency services facilities.

After the fourth round of the Mobile Black Spot Program is completed, we will have invested over $280 million and built over 780 new sites to improve coverage for regional areas around the country – a significant proportion of the total 1047 towers co-funded by Government under the Program since 2015.

We’ve already delivered more than 550 new mobile base stations across Australia under the Mobile Black Spot Program, bringing new and improved coverage to regional and remote areas and opening up new opportunities and economic benefits for communities and customers.

After our trial of small cells in Tasmania, we’ll continue to use small cell technology as an innovative and cost-effective approach to fixing black spots. A small cell is essentially a miniature version of a standard mobile base station, allowing us to deliver 4G coverage to areas where existing coverage is minimal or not available without the hundreds of thousands of dollars of infrastructure that a standard mobile base station typically requires.

Improving mobile coverage means people and businesses in regional and remote communities can do many things on the go that those in the cities take for granted – sharing on social media, streaming music and video, working remotely, or simply staying in touch with friends and family regularly. In the past, our Mobile Black Spot Program work has brought mobile coverage to the Pub With No Beer, connected Eggs and Bacon Bay to the world, and helped avocado farmers in Comboyne to monitor crops using IoT.

Over the five years to June 2019, our investment in our mobile network will total around $8 billion, of which around $3 billion will have been invested in regional areas. Our mobile network is supported by more than 9900 mobile base stations, covers more than 2.5 million square kilometres of the country, and reaches 99.5 per cent of the Australian population.

As well as our continued investment in our mobile network and the ongoing roll-out of new and improved coverage under the Mobile Black Spot Program, we’re investing in 5G with more than 200 5G-enabled sites already up and running, and more to come in 2019.