Mobile black spot no more

Businesses and residents in Ferguson Valley are benefitting from new and improved mobile coverage after a new site was officially launched under the Mobile Black Spot Program.

Federal member for Forrest Nola Marino, South West MLC Colin Holt and Member for Collie-Preston Mick Murray were among the Telstra, state and local government representatives gathered at Ferguson Valley’s Hackersley winery on Friday morning to celebrate the new mobile base station.

The tower will provide 4GX coverage across the busy rural, commercial area.

Ferguson Valley is among 183 mobile coverage black spots across regional and rural Western Australia, and 429 across Australia, benefitting from expanded 3G/4G mobile coverage provided by Telstra through the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program.

Telstra area general manager Boyd Brown said Telstra would be constructing another 18 new sites in the Forrest electorate over the next two years.

Sites nearby in Lowden and Wellington Mill will be next to experience the enhanced coverage, with Telstra expecting those towers to be operational by October or November this year.

“This is a very significant moment for business and residents alike in Ferguson Valley, who have had their call answered for better mobile coverage,” Mr Brown said.

“The growing use of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets is changing the way we live and we’re acutely aware of the challenges facing communities living with limited access to a mobile network.

“Expanding coverage across this region ensures locals can keep in contact with family and friends and run their businesses more effectively.” Mr Brown said the Mobile Black Spot Program encourages operators to build mobile infrastructure in remote areas, including base stations and backhaul that all carriers can use to provide services to their customers if they choose to invest, and this is a great outcome for people living and working in these communities.

“Western Australia is a big state and we’re proud to be part of this important initiative which is connecting so many more regional and rural communities,” he said.

The Mobile Black Spot Program is co-funded by the state government’s Royalties for Regions Regional Telecommunications Project.

Telstra’s rollout of the program involves co-investment of more than $486 million in regional and rural Australia.

Of this, $228 million has come from Telstra, $134 million has been funded by the federal government and tens of millions of dollars in additional funding has come from state and local government funding.

Source: Bunbury Mail.