The Queensland government has announced that it’s providing a significant boost to mobile coverage for regional communities.
Over the next year, the government will install 39 4G small cells, which are among up to 50 secured through the state government’s co-funding arrangement with Telstra for round one of the Mobile Black Spot Program.
Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said mobile phone black spots have been a huge concern for many regional communities, with poor coverage presenting serious safety concerns,” Ms Enoch said.
“From farm and road accidents to natural disasters, bushfires and floods, it is critical we stay connected.”
She said local businesses are also hurting, “so with this being Queensland Small Business Week, the new 4G cells will not only boost phone coverage – but confidence levels”.
“The Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation (DSITI) worked closely with local councils and Telstra to identify, expand and improve mobile phone coverage and promote digital connectivity,” Ms Enoch said.
According to Ms Enoch, other locations to receive the 4G cells include Rosedale, Bororen, and Burnett Heads – “areas that have previously suffered from limited-to-no mobile phone coverage.”
For those who might not know what a ‘small cell’ is, it’s a miniature version of a standard mobile base station, with each cell providing 4G mobile connectivity over a coverage footprint of approximately 200 to 300 metres.
According to the state government, the 4G small cells will deliver coverage to hundreds more premises – and are in addition to 144 mobile base stations secured under the state’s $24 million co-investment in the Australian Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program (MBSP).
The mobile base stations secured under MBSP will provide coverage to more than 20,000 premises, including houses, businesses, schools and government offices.
Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said funding contributed by the Queensland government is providing local residents and small business operators with reliable communication.
“Black spots are a major issue for rural and remote communities, and these new cells will certainly help bring an end to unwelcome drop-outs,” she said.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to investing in telecommunications infrastructure that will improve mobile phone coverage for all Queenslanders.”
Telstra Area General Manager May Boisen said the small cells will open digital doors in mobile black spots.
“As the carrier with the nation’s largest mobile footprint and the first to bring 4G mobile services to regional Australia, we know how important high-speed mobile is to local communities and businesses,” Ms Boisen said
“In many of these town centres, you currently can’t even make a voice call, so the recent enablement of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) on our small cells is also an exciting addition.
“Customers with compatible handsets and devices will not only be able to make calls in the region for the first time, they’ll be clearer and connected faster, all while continuing to use fast mobile internet.”
The Palaszczuk government will continue to work with Telstra and other stakeholders to identify suitable locations for the remaining 4G cells over coming months.
The 39 new small cell locations are: Weengallon, Wallumbilla, Homestead, Thargomindah, Ridgewood, Cannon Valley, Nobby, Buxton, Delta, Brookstead, South Kolan, Inkermin, Flagstone Creek, Burnett Heads, Woodstock, Forest Hill, Rosedale, Brandon, Acland, Bororen, Forrest Beach, Bowenville, Comet, Kennedy, Surat, Ridgelands, El Arish, Brigalow, Tanby, Babinda, Peachester, Capella, Mount Alford, Conondale, Yakapari, Kerry, Kumbia, Pentland, and Cungulla.