The Victorian Gold Rush-era town of Walhalla is the home of our 600th site under the Mobile Black Spot Program, bringing mobile coverage to a town with just 20 permanent residents and a thriving tourist economy.
More than 135 years after electricity was first delivered to the area in 1884, and 128 years after telephone service was hooked up at the local gold mine in 1891, we have connected Walhalla to the world through our mobile network.
The mountainside town can now enjoy the economic and safety benefits of mobile coverage – whether that’s for the town’s 20 year-round residents, or the several thousand that flood in during peak tourism and holiday periods.
Nestled in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, Walhalla was once home to 4000 people during the height of the Victorian gold rush era – not long after the town itself was founded in 1862. The Walhalla Goldfields Railway has survived since then, and memories of the past remain with ghost tours a popular attraction for tourists.
The local community was so passionate about the need to have mobile coverage brought to their town under the Mobile Black Spot Program, they lobbied anyone who would listen. I’m pleased that our local team were able to help the community in their efforts.
Today is another milestone in one of the largest ever expansions of mobile coverage across regional and remote communities in Australia, benefiting agriculture, transport, mining and tourism.
Whether it’s a ride on the Walhalla Goldfields Railway or the local ghost tour, more visitors will be able to share photos and post about their experiences, helping to grow and support the town’s vital tourism industry.
These sectors benefit from and rely on a fast, reliable and affordable mobile network that we provide. We believe that access to mobile connectivity is a crucial part of improving digital inclusion in Australia, and the Mobile Black Spot Program helps to bring rural and regional Australia many of the benefits that our cities already enjoy.
Under the Mobile Black Spot Program, in partnership with local, state and federal Governments, we have delivered:
- 600 mobile base stations stretching from Monkey Mia in Western Australia to Weipa in the Queensland Cape York peninsula, and coverage to remote central Australian indigenous communities encompassing the APY Lands
- A further 200 wholly Telstra funded small cells to deliver coverage into areas where it is otherwise not economically feasible to do so
- Up to 100 million new handset and device registrations to our mobile network in the past two years where new coverage has been delivered under the Mobile Black Spot Program
- Another 185,000 square kilometres of new coverage to Australian communities (more than twice the size of Tasmania), delivering coverage to 60,000 new premises
- More than 32,000 emergency calls made through new Telstra sites delivered under the program
Our participation in the Mobile Black Spot Program is part of our long and proud history of investment in regional Australia. When the fourth round of the Program is complete, we will have contributed more than $280 million toward securing better connectivity for rural and regional Australia, and will have built over 780 new sites to improve coverage around the country.
We’re proud to switch on our 600th Mobile Black Spot site in Walhalla, and to connect Australia’s largest and fastest* mobile network in a community that lives and breathes an important part of the nation’s history.
* based on national average combined 3G/4G mobile speeds.