It’s amazing what we can achieve when we come together. Four years ago, hundreds of thousands square kilometres around our nation were off the grid when it came to mobile phone coverage. Now thanks to our hard work with the Federal Government on the Mobile Black Spot Program, we’ve lit up 700 4G sites to bring the promise of the digital future to more Australians than ever.

Having mobile phone coverage means more for a town than just letting them binge-watching Netflix, too. Arrowsmith East locals are now able to make calls to each other around town, meaning they don’t have to take the trek up steep hills to get service. That means they can make quicker decisions about how, where and when to move livestock, and get updated weather reports faster than ever.

It affects people like Craig and Ray Morgan: a father-and-son farming team who have worked the land at Arrowsmith East since 1967. The Morgans live on the land where the new mobile site is located, and they’ve told us it makes a wonderful difference to their quality of life.

Ray, 76, said that “having a mobile phone is an important part of a bloke’s business”, and now we can help him get down to business faster and smarter.

For these communities, mobile coverage has meant the ability to do the simple things, EFTPOS transactions, call and message with family and fast mobile broadband to stream and download content. It connects businesses to the digital economy in ways that can supercharge businesses at a time when they need it most.

And it brings people together. More than 194,000 square kilometres of new or improved coverage has been switched on nationally as a result of the investments in the Mobile Black Spot Program.

Additionally, 5600 kilometres of new or improved highway coverage along some of Australia’s busiest, longest and most isolated trucking and tourism routes is now operational thanks to the Mobile Black Spot Program.

That coverage can also help to save lives. 45,000 emergency 000 calls have been made in the time we’ve been working on the Mobile Black Spot Program. There had been a time in the past when those calls could not have been placed, and we’re dedicated to making sure more Australians can get the help they need when they need it most. The new tower at Arrowsmith East also covers a 100km hazardous route between Mingenew and Eneabba, meaning motorists and travellers can get help if they need it.

When the Mobile Black Spot Program started, hundreds of towns were crying out for mobile coverage. Thanks to the hard work of our people, and just shy of a $300 million investment, we have completed five rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Program and built more than 700 towers.

Our 700th is now live in Arrowsmith East in Western Australia. It too is now enjoying the benefits of connectivity that a lot of us take for granted in this country.

Arrowsmith East joins rural towns around the country in joining the digital economy. From Eggs and Bacon Bay to The Pub With No Beer, the Mobile Black Spot Program is lighting up towns by the hundreds. Even in the midst of COVID-19, the Mobile Black Spot Program served to bring life to a region like Walhalla which has stayed connected to its fans by live streaming on Facebook via their new 4G tower.

We’re proud to have the network that is connecting more Australians in more places than ever. We’ll continue to deliver coverage to hard-to-reach areas, so more Aussies can enjoy what the future of connectivity has to offer.