Budget a black day for Mobile Black Spot Programme
Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan says the Government’s failure to deliver further rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Programme in the 2018-19 Budget will see up to 200 communities in Indi forced to go without improved mobile reception.
“As we approach the official launch of the 100th mobile phone tower under Rounds 1 and 2 of the programme, I am disappointed other communities will not have the same opportunity to experience a better service,” Ms McGowan said.
“We know the positive impact of improved connectivity in these communities. Indi received funding for 38 new mobile phone towers in Rounds 1 and 2 and about half of those towers have been switched on.
“People expect and deserve this coverage. It is vitally important and until now, this programme has delivered an effective partnership between communities and all levels of government.
“Both the National Farmers’ Federation and ACCAN have advocated on behalf of regional communities for remaining black spots to be addressed with further rounds of the programme or an alternative.”
“This Budget fails to provide a solution where remaining black spot projects are not commercially viable, yet the responsibility to provide a service to regional and rural communities remains.”
“A recommendation to Government from the Joint Select Committee investigating the NBN rollout had called for a rural and regional committee. That would have addressed this issue.”
Ms McGowan said the Government has also failed to act upon two of the key recommendations of the 2015 Regional Telecommunications Review Report to improve mobile phone services and ensure the NBN fixed wireless and satellite networks continue to meet the demands of consumers into the future.
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