Mobiles are ringing and downloading for the first time in arguably Australia’s most remote mobile black spot, with Telstra activating its 450th mobile base station under the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program.
Erub (Darnley) Island, in the Torres Strait, is approximately 180 kilometres from the tip of the mainland, more than 2,000 km from Brisbane and home to around 300 people.
Telstra Area General Manager Rachel Cliffe said a new mobile base station to address a notorious black spot in the area was among more than 650 sites being delivered by Telstra across the nation under the Program.
“This is an important moment for the Erub community who can now make and receive mobile calls and access high speed mobile broadband through Telstra’s 3G and 4GX services,” said Cliffe.
“Mobile connectivity plays a major role in connecting friends and families, businesses, and essential services across Australia and around the world.
“The remoteness of the site made delivering coverage to the community equally challenging and rewarding. Crews and equipment had to be either flown in or arrive by boat, whilst battling monsoonal rain, but the state of the art connectivity that is now being delivered to the island is bringing many benefits.
“As well as being able to make calls and access fast wireless data, this project importantly opens up digital doors to education, health and business opportunities to benefit some of Australia’s most remote communities.”
Cliffe said Telstra’s rollout of the Mobile Black Spot Program was continuing at pace.
“We now have 450 mobile base stations and nearly 200 4G small cells online, expanding mobile coverage to regional communities across Australia by more than 160,000 sq. km,” Cliffe said.
“So far, more than 60 million calls have been made and more than 2,500 terabytes of data have been downloaded thanks to these new base stations, showing how important connectivity is to regional and remote communities.”
“Telstra is committed to continue leading the way in mobile connectivity. As well as delivering immediate benefits to the community, these new mobile base stations readies these regions for future rollouts of new technologies, such as 5G.
“Telstra has invested more in building and operating networks in regional and rural communities than any other provider and we offer more mobile coverage in more parts of Australia.”
Telstra’s $260 million contribution to the Mobile Black Spot Program, more than double the commitment of all other carriers combined, complements its own direct investment in building Australia’s largest and fastest mobile network, which now covers more than 2.5 million square kilometres.
Regional Communications Minister Bridget McKenzie said hundreds of communities were already seeing the benefits of improved mobile coverage that otherwise may not have reached them, thanks to the Mobile Black Spot Program.
“The Coalition Government has invested heavily in the Mobile Black Sport Program to ensure that regional Australians have access to 21st century communication technology,” Minister McKenzie said.
“We are now well past the halfway mark for rounds 1 and 2 of the program and the rollout of round 3 has just commenced with all 125 priority round black spot locations across the country to receive improved mobile coverage. I look forward to seeing more people in the regions getting better mobile coverage to help them to stay connected, access education and do business.”