THERE is now improved mobile coverage between Winton and Cloncurry following the switching on of Telstra’s 250th base station under the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program.
Telstra chief executive officer Andy Penn said Winton was a great place to celebrate the milestone, given its rich history and the wider contribution to transport and farming in Queensland.
“As the birth place of Qantas, Winton has a long history of keeping Australian’s connected through travel,” Mr Penn said.
“This new base station on the Landsborough Highway is bringing increased mobile coverage to both residents and to drivers who travel through the area.
We still have more than 300 base stations to go.
“It is part of the $11 million worth of mobile network investment Telstra is currently making in the Maranoa electorate, with the majority expected to be built this financial year, opening up new coverage in 20 communities and upgrading capacity and speeds on our network across the region.
“Access to mobile coverage on the road can be just as important as being connected at home or the office. It is good for business, safety and even simple pleasures like streaming your favourite song while on a long drive.
“A number of the base stations we are building or upgrading as part of the Mobile Black Spot Program are focused on bringing Telstra’s 3G and state of the art 4GX mobile data services to the roads and highways that connect rural communities. The introduction of 4GX services will mean increased capacity for the local mobile network, giving locals improved and more consistent data speeds.”
“In switching on our 250th base station, we have now brought new mobile coverage to more than 130,000 square kilometres across the country and we still have more than 300 base stations to go.
“As the provider offering more mobile coverage across Australia than anyone else, we know how important access to coverage is for people to be able to stay in contact with family and friends and run businesses effectively,” Mr Penn said.
Federal Member for Maranoa, David Littleproud, said the Coalition Government was proud to have established the Mobile Black Spot Program.
“For too long those in the bush had to stand on one foot, on top of a hill in the back paddock trying to pick up a signal,” Mr Littleproud said.
“Lives and business depend on mobile phone coverage and that’s why towers like this one on the Landsborough Highway are so important for our connectivity.
“Lives depend on mobile phone networks in emergencies, so expanding mobile phone coverage benefits not only public safety but also the productivity of rural communities in business and tourism.
“As part of this program, local residents, councils, businesses and community groups were given the opportunity to nominate areas for better mobile coverage and this tower’s switch on means this whole region will benefit as a result.”
On average, over the past 10 years about 15 per cent of Telstra’s mobile network capital expenditure was made in remote and very remote parts of Australia, where about 2pc of the nation’s population lives.
Telstra has now switched on more than 250 of the 577 base stations it is building in rural and regional Australia under the Mobile Black Spot Program, including 110 in Queensland. This represents $486m worth of co-investment between Telstra, the Federal and State Governments and numerous local councils.