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More rural communities to receive improved mobile phone coverage.

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More rural communities to receive improved mobile phone coverage

A further 55 towns in regional Australia will gain improved CDMA mobile phone coverage with Telstra today announced as the successful tenderer of the Federal Government's $20.4 million mobile phone program.

The announcement to invest $20.4 million to improve mobile phone coverage to the 55 eligible towns with a population of less than 500 was made by the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, in Wongarbon near Dubbo in New South Wales in the Federal electorate of Parkes.

Communities in all States and the Northern Territory will benefit from improved mobile phone coverage when conducting their business and personal communications.

Member for Parkes, Mr John Cobb, welcomed the announcement, which includes three local towns in his electorate, as a further demonstration of the Government's commitment to improve telecommunications services to regional and rural Australia.

The announcement follows a competitive tender process to provide improved communications coverage to eligible towns (see attached list) under the Commonwealth Government's $50.5 million Regional Mobile Phone program.

The $50.5 million Regional Mobile Phone program is part of the Coalition Government's response to the Telecommunications Service Inquiry. This initiative will provide improved CDMA mobile phone coverage to 31 towns that currently have inadequate coverage and to 24 towns that have no existing coverage. The rollout of services is expected to be completed by June 2004.

This is one of several mobile phone initiatives funded by the Coalition Government to improve the level of telecommunications services in rural and regional Australia. In addition to today's announcement, other mobile phone coverage provided under the $50.5 million Regional Mobile Phone program includes:

spot coverage for selected regional highways; ● funding to improve mobile phone coverage in the south west of Western Australia under ●

the Wireless West project; and a satellite mobile phone handset subsidy scheme. ●

Since 1997, more than $1 billion in funding has been committed to improving communications and information technology services and infrastructure, mainly in regional, rural and remote Australia. Funding for improvements to mobile telephony includes more than $40 million for mobile funding under the Networking the Nation program, $25 million for the Mobile Phones on Highways program, $50.5 million for the Regional Mobile Phone program and funding to improve mobile phone coverage in 132 towns with populations of more than 500.

Media contact: Sasha Grebe 02 6277 7480 or 0409 445 246 Website:

165/02 12 July 2002



Eligible towns with current inadequate coverage that would not otherwise receive 100 per cent coverage from the carriers

New South Wales (population range 365-500) Couridjah, Cudal, Cunjurong, Dunoon, Geurie, Millfield, Rothbury North

Queensland (population range 385-500) Coominya, Grasstree Beach, Half Tide Beach, Imbil, River Heads, Sarina Beach, Silkwood, Taylors Beach, Toorbul, Tully Heads

South Australia (population range 380-500) Mount Burr, Saddleworth, Snowtown

Tasmania (population range 350-500) Fingal, Ridgley

Victoria (population range 310-500) Corinella, Coronet Bay, Linton, Marlo, Moriac, Nyah, Rhyll, Talbot

Western Australia (population range 400-500) Rottnest Island

*Eligible towns with no current coverage that would not otherwise receive 100 per cent coverage from the carriers

New South Wales (population range 365-500) Adaminaby, Barellan, Candelo, Captains Flat, Goodooga, Gulargambone, Trundle, Ungarie, Urana, Wongarbon

Northern Territory (population range 457-500) Hermannsburg, Ramingining, Santa Teresa (Ltyentye Putre)

Queensland (population range 385-500) Augathella, Dimbulah, Mount Garnet

Victoria (population range 310-500)

Jeparit, Leitchville, Lismore, Lockington, Manangatang, Minyip, Skipton, Strathmerton

*A community contribution of $5 000 cash or in-kind is required from towns with no existing coverage.


1. The list of eligible towns was prepared based on 1996 Australian Bureau of Statistics census information on town sizes and advice on existing mobile phone coverage provided by SingTel Optus, Telstra and Vodafone. Some towns have been removed from the list of eligible towns announced on 1 November 2001 based on additional coverage advice provided by carriers since then. 2. In WA, it has not been possible to include the town of Warbuton, because although of eligible size, the estimated cost of providing service substantially exceeds remaining funds available for WA at this time. In NSW, Lord Howe Island has not been included as it is eligible to receive funding for terrestrial mobile phone services under the Remote and Isolated Islands Fund, administered as part of the Networking the Nation program. 3. The different population size cut-off used in different State/Territories reflects the different level of available funds, distribution of town sizes and levels of current mobile phone coverage in States/Territories. 4. The list identifies towns currently with less than 80 per cent mobile phone coverage or with no coverage, which are eligible for funding.

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