Regional |

We’re putting another $75m towards boosting regional coverage

By Nikos Katinakis July 23, 2021

We’re directing an additional $75 million from the part sale of our Telstra InfraCo Towers business to further enhance connectivity in regional Australia.

This builds on recent funding announcements to improve connectivity in regional and rural areas. 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.

When it comes to allocating and rolling out this additional $75 million, we’ll be guided by the recommendations of the latest Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee (RTIRC) from the Federal Government. As the Committee meets with regional communities and stakeholders, we will listen to what they have to say to better understand what we can do to improve connectivity and service in the bush, just as we did during the committee’s 2018 review.

These investments will improve coverage and capacity for our customers living and working in regional Australia. They also come at a time when communities across the country are looking to participate in, and benefit from, the accelerating digital economy. Many of our largest sectors have their roots in regional Australia – agriculture, mining, transport and tourism – and their sustainable futures will rely on enhanced connectivity.

Investment in regional Australia means rolling out the latest technologies and future-proofing our existing leading network coverage. Our 5G network now reaches 75% of Australians, and in the last six months we have switched on 5G coverage for more than 100 regional towns and cities. As we roll out 5G, we know that our regional customers want to know how to best use the network and so we are committed to answering your regional mobile coverage questions.

At the same time, we have been working hard to improve fixed connectivity in critical locations, like rolling out major upgrades in 525 regional exchanges in NSW that have already delivered internet speeds up to 10 times faster for some public schools. These exchange upgrades have already bolstered the capacity available to our regional customers and this additional investment means more improvements are on the way.

We know that for many of our customers in regional areas Telstra is more than just another telco – it is often the only telco. We take that responsibility seriously. Our teams are on the ground working tirelessly to ensure our customers are connected, faults are fixed and issues are addressed quickly. But we know the job is far from done.

We look forward to working with local communities and RTIRC to understand what more we – and other telcos – can do to improve connectivity and service in the bush so all Australians can participate fully in the digital economy.

Network | Regional |

Working against mice to keep Australia connected

By Michael Marom July 20, 2021

For almost 12 months now, farmers and rural landowners across southeast Australia have been devastated by a once-in-a-decade mouse plague, chewing through crops and damaging property and machinery.

While farmers have felt the brunt of this the most, our network in these areas has also been feeling the impacts, with mice gnawing their way through everything from our phone exchanges to cabling in our customers’ homes and businesses.

We know our customers in regional Australia rely on us to keep them connected and our field teams have been working tirelessly to prevent these little critters from entering and damaging our infrastructure and buildings.

How our network gets hit

Mice are sneaky little buggers, and they inherently love to chew to keep their teeth from growing. Unfortunately for us, copper and fibre cabling provide perfect chewing targets for mice to keep this urge satisfied. It also doesn’t help that they have babies every 30 days and like to chew through timber and paper within buildings to make nests for breeding.

Being so small, it can be quite easy for mice to enter buildings – whether it’s simply coming straight under the front door, squeezing through cable entry points or coming through the wall-mounted air conditioner units.

Outside of loving to chew, mice also love to nestle themselves near anything that’s warm, especially during colder months. Our transmission and internet equipment make a perfect warm environment for these mice to live in, with up to 50 mice happily living in a space as big as your bedroom closet.

The mice are also more than happy to empty themselves wherever they see fit, which can cause short circuits and faults in our electrical equipment.

Network equipment after mice

Keeping the mice out

The first point of call for our team has been to try and devise ways to keep mice out of our buildings and infrastructure as best we can.

Taking a ‘better out than in’ approach – and armed with steel wool, silicone and foam filler – our technicians have focused on closing any gaps that mice could enter through by blocking light fittings, vent holes, cable points and conduits. It’s not unusual for our team working on this to open a cabinet and find a dozen tiny eyes glaring back at them, either.

Don’t forget, these little guys go to the bathroom anywhere they want, and there are a lot of them, so working to close out the gaps is a job that comes with a bit of dry-heaving for the team working on it.

Once our facilities are all sealed up, we set eco-friendly bait and traps throughout the building, leave the mice inside and come back later to see if we’ve had success.

Properly sealing everything can prove quite difficult, and it can often take two or three visits to get it completely right. Once that’s done, we finish up with a big clean-out of the facility (goodbye stench!) with the help of our health and safety team before repairing equipment.

Moving forward, outside of making sure we can keep these mice out, an important task for the team will be keeping a close eye on all our equipment for faults as it can be compromised by mice dirt.

Keeping Australia connected is at the core of everything we do and will continue to do – even if that means some of us having to occasionally fix a cable in a bit of mouse mess.

5G | Network | Regional | Telstra News |

Our 5G network now reaches 75% of Australians

By Nikos Katinakis June 28, 2021

Over the last year a big focus for us has been to bring Telstra 5G to as many people as possible, and today we’ve reached a huge milestone – with 75% of all Australians now having the ability to access to our 5G network where they live.

After starting our initial 5G rollout across major cities, a big effort has been made to extend this out to our suburbs, regional centres and rural areas. You can now find Telstra 5G presence in more than 2,700 suburbs and over 200 cities and towns across Australia.

In the last six months alone, we have switched on 5G services in more than 100 regional cities and towns including Port Douglass in Queensland, Yass in New South Wales and Devonport in Tasmania.

As our 5G rollout continues across Australia, we’re seeing thousands of new devices joining our network every week, and now have more than 1.5 million 5G devices live on our network.

The hard work on our 5G rollout is not done yet – we want to bring 5G to as many people as possible. Reaching more Australians will be harder from here though, with populations spread out over larger distances, with each incremental percentage of the population requiring proportionally more 5G sites to cover – so some areas might take a bit longer than others before the 5G symbol pops up the top of your phone.

And just because we have been focusing so much on 5G, doesn’t mean we have forgotten about our 4G service. We just passed a big new milestone with our 4G footprint now covering more than 2 million square km and 99.4% of the Australian population – so you can browse, stream or chat in more places than ever before.

Not just a bigger network, a better network

When it comes to 5G, while we’ve been rolling it out across Australia, we’ve also been innovating and deploying new technologies to offer a better and even more reliable service to our customers.

One new addition is a technology called carrier aggregation. We’ve used this on 4G for a while and helped boost connectivity dramatically for customers as we worked on it more and more. It essentially involves enabling devices to access our network using multiple radio frequencies.

Think of it like you’re trying to heat a room. You start with a single heater, but it’s too cold still, so you add another heater to get the room up to temperature. Combining multiple frequencies to work together, just like the heaters warming the room faster, gives you greater network performance than connecting to the single frequency.

For the first time, we’re adding this out to 5G too. By combining Telstra 5G on low band 850Mhz spectrum and mid-band 3600Mhz 5G, you should see a boost in 5G performance when you’re indoors or on the edge of 5G coverage.

mmWave – the next big thing

Earlier this year we announced that we’re investing $277 million in 1000MHz of 26Ghz spectrum for mmWave 5G – a short-range, high-frequency and very high capacity spectrum band that really makes the most of what 5G can do. Adding mmWave to 5G will supercharge the network even further, adding greater capacity for more devices especially in population dense areas like big city CBDs or at major sporting events.

While the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), who manages spectrum licensing in Australia only recently auctioned off mmWave spectrum, we’ve been preparing to launch it for a while now. In fact, we already have 50 mmWave sites live across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Goulburn and the Gold Coast.

We’re excited about mmWave being live, and if you own a Telstra 5G WiFi Pro you can experience the boost in certain pockets of those areas. At the moment, it’s the only device on the market that supports mmWave, but we’ll be launching a few more devices by the end of the year to take advantage of the next phase in 5G.

Telstra 5G network at 50 per cent
5G | Network | Telstra News |

One in two Aussies now covered by Telstra 5G

By Channa Seneviratne January 14, 2021

We’re all about setting bold resolutions for the new year, and we’ve already ticked a big one off our list right out of the gate. More than 50 per cent of Australia’s population now live inside of our 5G coverage footprint. And we’re not done yet: we’re aiming for 75 per cent population coverage before the end of June 2021.

From Bunbury to Berri, Cowell to Corowa, Warrnambool to Wagga Wagga and hundreds of places in between, more Aussies than ever can get access to the rollout of our 5G service thanks to this new coverage milestone.

That means these customers now have access to the nation’s largest 5G footprint, which will revolutionise the way that we live, work and stay entertained. Telstra 5G represents a massive leap forward in our speeds, data capacity and the number of devices we can connect at once.

And while it’s impressive now, it’s only going to get better.

Reaching 50 per cent of the Australian population is a massive milestone. Especially as our customers have told us that strong coverage is their number one priority.

But there’s still more work to be done to make sure that more people can get onto our awesome 5G experience. We already have more than 750,000 5G devices on our network, and we’re adding thousands more every week.

We’re continuing to rollout Telstra 5G to 75 per cent of the population by June 2021. It’s an aggressive target, but we’re sure we can hit it for our customers.

This next milestone will ensure more Aussies living in big cities, regional centres and country towns will be covered compared to any other telco. You can find out more about 5G coverage, our 5G enabled plans and devices and how to connect to the future on

Telstra network upgrade, Flinders Island
Network | Regional |

Building a network for the future for Flinders and Cape Barren Islands

By Michael Patterson September 25, 2020

Flinders and Cape Barren Islands have received an $11 million dollar network upgrade, with our funding joined by local, state and Federal Government investment to provide the region with improved communications and mobile network connectivity. This puts Flinders on the map and ensures its connected future, giving it the foundations for a thriving economic and tourism industry.

Flinders Island, one of 52 islands in the Furneaux Group dotted across the Bass Strait north east of Tasmania, has had an $11 million telecommunications upgrade, funded as part of the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) giving locals and visitors the chance to experience better connectivity than ever before.

One of the key parts of this project is a new radio tower – 100 kilometres north-east of Launceston at Waterhouse – which creates the longest radio link across water anywhere on our network, connecting Flinders and Cape Barren Islands with Tasmania and the rest of the world.

At 80m tall, the new radio tower is Tassie’s third largest structure and required over 39 tonnes of steel, 3,000 bolts and a 300-tonne crane to build.

Not to be overshadowed by the epic new tower, we’ve also installed about 83km of new optical fibre to link major population centres on Flinders Island, along with two new-generation microwave radio systems.

We’ve also upgraded our mobile base station sites at Mt Tanner, Middle Patriarch, Hayes Hill and Vinegar Hill, jumping from 3G to superfast 4GX. And there are four new speedy mobile base stations at Killecrankie, Palana, Blue Rocks and Cape Barren Island to extend the reach of our leading network to more people.

With the final part of the project being completed in April 2020, we now cover 98.7 per cent of Tasmania’s population using more than 300 mobile sites across our southernmost state.

This project has boosted the connectivity for the locals on the island and provided much improved mobile and internet services, which are vital to a region that thrives on tourism. The upgrades lay the groundwork for the network into the future, including scalable solutions for the local school, hospital and emergency services. Flinders Island is now ready to embrace a digital future.

There’s no two ways about it: Telstra is Australia’s go-to regional network. We have a proud history of supporting regional and rural customers. This upgrade links Flinders Island to Australia and the world, bringing new opportunities to live, work and play for the island’s residents and visitors alike.