Black Spot phone towers for KI and Ashbourne

Black Spot phone towers for KI and Ashbourne

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has welcomed the news that new telecommunication base stations will finally be built at Gosse on Kangaroo Island and at Ashbourne on the Fleurieu Peninsula under Round 3 of the Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program.

The macro base stations, to be built by Telstra by June 2019, were formally announced today by the Federal Minister for Regional Communications, Senator Bridget McKenzie, as part of a package of 102 sites identified under the “Priority Locations” round of the program.

“This is fantastic news for the communities of Ashbourne and on Kangaroo Island in the Gosse/Stokes Bay area who desperately need better coverage, and I congratulate Telstra on pursuing the upgrade of their network in these areas through the Black Spot Program,” Rebekha said.

“I also welcome the Minister’s news that the funding for these priority locations will also provide for at least 12 hours of back-up power at each macro base station to help ensure mobile coverage is not lost in the event of a power outage.

“This is only about half of the 24-hour back-up power outlined in the Private Member’s Bill I introduced into the Parliament last year but it is certainly a step forward from the three to four hours battery back-up our communities currently have.

“However, I am concerned that the program ends with Round 3 when we still have so many areas in our electorate where you cannot receive reliable mobile phone coverage.

“In the interest of public safety, this Federal Government must fund further rounds of the Mobile Phone Black Spot Program, and I will be making it a priority to advocate for this leading up to the 2018/19 Federal Budget.”

Optus, Telstra and Vodafone will receive $45.2 million in Commonwealth funding to build the 102 new base stations.

Another 19 locations are being upgraded under other Government programs or through carriers expanding their own networks commercially.

Telstra is the only company undertaking any building under Round 3 in SA.

Telstra’s Area General Manager for South Australia, Mark Bolton, said today’s announcement would help deliver improved coverage to regional Australia.

“Under the Priority Locations round of this program, Telstra will be constructing an additional six mobile base station sites in South Australia and improving coverage at 89 sites across Australia,” he said.

“We know the important role mobile technology plays in helping people stay in contact with friends and family, and run businesses effectively.

“Nationally this program has already helped Telstra expand regional mobile coverage by 160,000 square kilometres. We look forward to providing improved coverage to these locations in the near future.”

At the start of Round 1 of the Mobile Black Spot Program there were more than 130 black spot mobile sites identified in Mayo.

“So far our success rate is five sites out of three rounds with a base station at Montacute in the Hills announced in Round 1, small satellite cells at Stokes Bay on Kangaroo Island and Parawa south of Yankalilla announced in Round 2 and base stations at Gosse and Ashbourne announced in Round 3,” said Rebekha.

“Mobile coverage has become so essential for our safety, for work, education and social connection that we need to make sure our communities are better serviced and if that means more financial incentives for telecommunication companies, then we must continue the Black Spot Program.”