Telstra is ready to continue our investment in regional Australia. But we need the ACCC to end the uncertainty and finalise their decision on regulated mobile roaming.

We welcome the ACCC’s draft decision not to declare mobile roaming.

Dozens of community groups, business leaders, local councils and politicians from across the country made a submission to the ACCC. The overwhelming call from regional Australia was that their top priority was encouraging telecommunications investment to improve and extend mobile coverage.

This draft decision is the right one for regional Australian communities because it ensures the industry still has the incentives to invest in improving and extending mobile networks to provide more coverage.

I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to have their say on this critical issue, including the WA Farmers Association, the Country Women’s Association of NSW, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Cotton Australia, Indigenous Remote Communications Australia, the Local Government Association of Queensland and the Isolated Children’s Parents Association.

Last year Telstra committed to keep investing to improve and expand our mobile network in regional, rural and remote areas. Through our own direct investment, as well as co-investment, we expect to see up to $1 billion of investment flow to small towns and regional centres across the country over the next five years.

If this decision is confirmed we will immediately move to expand our 4G coverage to reach 99% of the population by later this year. It also paves the way for ongoing investment in the coming years that would see an additional 1.4 million square kilometres of 4G coverage for regional and rural Australia. This means that about 600 base stations will be upgraded from 3G to 4G giving the Australian population access to a world leading 4G network.

This draft decision means we are one step closer to being able to get on with this exciting work that will have positive impacts on people who live, work and visit regional areas.