Rural mobile phone coverage is set for a boost with the State Government working with regional communities to deliver the latest round of Mobile Black Spot Program funding.
Round five of the Commonwealth Mobile Black Spot Program is now open with $80 million available across the country. The State Government will contribute a further $3 million towards local black spots from the $10 million South Australian Mobile Phone Black Spot fund.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said there are around 500 mobile black spots registered across regional South Australia and an Expression of Interest process will now be undertaken to help decide which locations will be prioritised locally.
"The Mobile Phone Black Spot Program is of vital importance to our regional communities," said Minister Whetstone.
"A huge backlog in mobile phone black spots exists in South Australia which the State Government is committed to addressing.
"Telecommunications provides vital infrastructure to enable businesses in regional communities to reach their customers, and the clear messages coming out of the federal program about targeting the fund to deliver economic outcomes should benefit South Australia.
"Our regions contribute around $25 billion a year to the state's economy, and connectivity is essential to driving our regions' and our state's growth and success.
"For this round of funding the State Government will work with regional communities to deliver the program through an Expression of Interest process.
"The EOI process will mean regional communities can put themselves to the top of the priority list to assist government and telecommunications companies in deciding which applications to progress for preferred new mobile phone tower locations in the Commonwealth Program.
"This way we can have a better understanding of the communities' coverage needs as well improving each application's chances of success.
"I encourage all regional communities to get involved and put together an application.'
Expression of Interest requirements:
- Demonstration of how the site will support regional economic growth
- A minimum community contribution of $50,000
- Outline who will contribute funding and how much
- An outline of what the coverage objective is, including the location
To meet the Federal program's timelines, the EOI process is open from now until 7 June 2019. Enquiries about the EOI process can be directed to PIRSA.RegionsSA@sa.gov.au