South West Queensland will be the top priority for mobile coverage improvement under Round 2 of the LNP’s $385 million National Black Spot Programme, says Federal MP Bruce Scott.
“I want to make sure that our Warrego Highway all the way through has got coverage… these are priority areas going south of Roma down to through St George and to the border,” says Mr Scott.
“They are my priority that I’ve submitted to the committee.”
Applications for Round 2 of the nationwide programme have now closed and are due to be finalised by June 2016.
New mobile base stations that were built under Round 1 of the program are now operational at Eulo and the Quilpie Diamantina Developmental Road.
Eleven more stations are due to be switched on in the Maranoa before June 30.
“Already the [new] base stations are making a big difference… these are very remote communities and it brings added benefits to these communities to have ongoing continuous coverage.”
Mr Scott says that a large number of mobile black spots still exist in rural and remote parts of South West Queensland, which need to be urgently addressed.
“We’ve got councils that have submitted lists… we have many, many [black spots] particularly in the remote areas and that’s where we are trying to get coverage.”
Mr Scott says that regional and remote areas often miss out because the small populations do not provide market incentives to mobile providers.
“Commonwealth money is available for where the market won’t provide the solution, that’s what this program is all about.”
The Government has announced that $60 million will be available under Round 2, however mobile service providers are expected to supplement the federal funding for the infrastructure.
“So far Telstra have been the major contractor that has one the contracts in Maranoa because they have the most extensive coverage,” says Mr Scott.
“I’m hopeful to see a lot more black spots in the Maranoa covered in addition to the sixteen we’ve just seen announced in Round 1.”