National Farmers' Federation

Bush communications coalition welcomes further work on mobile blackspots

The Rural Regional and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC) has welcomed today’s announcement by the Regional Communications Minister, Senator Bridget McKenzie that there will be a fourth round of the Mobile Blackspots Program.
“Despite initial disappointment that further funding was not available in this year’s Federal Budget, we are delighted that the Government has made this important announcement today,” National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President Fiona Simson said.
Ms Simson said the Coalition believed the re-purposing of $25 million from existing programs would enable the fourth program to target those areas still in need of coverage.
“We acknowledge that the Blackspots Program is of significant scale, however there remain areas of regional Australia that are still without mobile phone coverage, having missed out on funding from the program so far.”
“To this end, any measure that seeks to further mobile coverage in the bush will always be welcomed by us.”
Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) CEO Teresa Corbin said since the RRRCC was formed in 2016, the group had been conscious that Mobile Blackspots Program needed to evolve from its current framework as coverage expanded.
“Given the breadth of the RRRCC’s membership, we look forward to assisting Minister McKenzie to develop program guidelines for this round, that will ensure those regions and communities that are currently without it, get the coverage they deserve.
“Given the program is based on co-investment, we are also calling mobile network operators to buy into this process.
“This is a real opportunity to ensure the funding that was not accessed in the first rounds is put to good use. However, we cannot do this without a commitment from commercial operators as well,” Ms Corbin said.

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