Better phone service call answered

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Better phone service call answered

Communities across the Limestone Coast will receive better mobile coverage as part of a project to build 27 new mobile sites through the Federal Government’s Regional Connectivity Program.

The Commonwealth will contribute over $15m to improve coverage and data across the region, along with contributions from the State Government, Telstra and local governments.

RCP Round 3 is awarding $115.23m for 74 connectivity projects across Australia, through three separate funding streams.

The announcement comes after the State Government announced it would provide one of the biggest investments in regional mobile phone coverage in the state’s history – allocating $5.5m to boost connectivity in the Limestone Coast.

The funding, which was announced during the Country Cabinet visit to the Limestone Coast in October, will go towards Telstra’s ‘South East SA Project’, to enable the delivery of 27 new mobile base stations across the region, adding around 2400 square kilometres of new 4G coverage.

At the time of the announcement, the project had investment from state and local government, along with local industry, but required Federal Government funding to bring it to life.

The new towers will increase mobile coverage, wireless broadband, and data-sharing capabilities.

It would also provide additional Triple Zero connectivity for users of other networks in emergency situations.

This will enable more efficient communication and monitoring in the forestry, dairy, agricultural, winery, and wool industries, provide better services to large numbers of seasonal tourists, improve access to remote health services, and enhance communications to vital emergency services.

The project is part of Telstra’s proposal to the Commonwealth Government’s Regional Connectivity Program developed in consultation with local councils, the South Australian Forest Products Association, Primary Producers SA, Grain Producers SA, the South-East Professional Fisherman’s Association, RDA Limestone Coast, and the SA Country Fire Service.

The Federal Government announced it would fund the project yesterday, with the successful applications assessed and recommended for funding by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, in accordance with the Program Guidelines.

This funding was delivered as part of the Albanese Government’s $1.1b Better Connectivity Plan.

Federal Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland said access to reliable mobile coverage and connectivity was “essential” in 2023, no matter where people lived.

“It does not matter where you live, access to reliable mobile coverage and connectivity is essential in 2023.

“This project will go a long way to supporting communities across the Limestone Coast access the mobile and data services they need,” she said.

Premier Peter Malinauskas said the funding for the Limestone Coast was” an historic investment in South Australia’s regional mobile phone coverage from Labor Federal and State Governments”.

“It is a testament to what can be achieved when working together – with funding also coming directly from local government and industry to make this project a reality,” he said.

“This is, in no small part, thanks to the fierce advocacy of local Independent MPs Nick McBride and Troy Bell, along with Minister Clare Scriven.

“We welcome the Federal Government’s investment in all three mobile connectivity projects across South Australia.”

South Australian Regional Development Minister Clare Scriven was delighted with the announcement.

“I’m delighted that this unique collaboration between Federal, State and local governments, as well as industry has resulted in this fantastic outcome for the Limestone Coast,” she said.

“Connectivity is essential for the growth of businesses, education, training and community wellbeing – this is an excellent outcome for our region.”

Member for MacKillop Nick McBride also welcomed news the project had been funded, describing it as a “game changer”.

“This exciting news is a major coup for our region and a result of collaboration between community, industry, and all three tiers of government,” he said.

“This is a game changer for connectivity for our local businesses, tourism and families – connecting us all on a greater level than ever experienced before.”

Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell believes the upgrading of services will have huge benefits for the region.

“This funding is the final puzzle piece in a massive project that was diligently brought together by local business, industry and government,” he said.

“It will connect our community in a way that will be life-changing for the people of the Limestone Coast.”

Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin welcomed the announcement.

“Investment into improving Limestone Coast mobile telecommunications is fantastic news,” he said.

“I met with Telstra at the beginning of the year about the proposal and gave it my full support.

“I very much look forward to continued investment of this size into other regional areas of South Australia that are desperately lacking phone service.”

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