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Monday, 9 February 2015
Page: 3

Telecommunications

Dear Dr Jensen

Thank you for your recent letter concerning a petition submitted to the Standing Committee on Petitions, regarding mobile phone coverage on the Eyre Peninsula (939/1407).

The Australian Government recognises the importance of reliable mobile coverage. While mobile phone carriers claim to provide coverage to 99 per cent of Australia's population, there are still some areas that have no coverage, particularly in regional and remote locations.

Expanding mobile coverage has clear economic and social benefits, as well as public safety benefits for people living, working and travelling in regional and remote areas.

The Government is investing $100 million to improve mobile phone coverage in some regional and remote communities which do not currently have reliable coverage. The Government's investment is expected to generate at least matching funding from local and state governments, communities and industry.

The Mobile Black Spot Programme will improve coverage along major transport routes, in small communities and in locations prone to experiencing natural disasters, as well as addressing unique mobile coverage problems.

The Government accepted nominations for mobile black spot locations between December 2013 and 1 August 2014. The reported locations, including the communities of Poonindie, North Shields and Louth Bay, have been included in a database that will be shared with mobile network operators and infrastructure providers to assist them in preparing funding proposals for the programme. The rules of the programme will require the mobile network operators to specify locations drawn from this database, at which they would propose to build or upgrade base stations.

The mobile black spot database is available:

(www.communications.gov.au/mobile_services/mobile_black_spot_programme) as an online interactive map.

The Government intends to commence a competitive selection process shortly, with a view to announcing the locations which have been selected for funding in the first half of 2015.

Thank you for bringing the petition to my attention, I trust this information will be of assistance.

from the Minister for Communications, Mr Turnbull