Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

Mobile Black Spot Program

The Government has committed $380 million to the Mobile Black Spot Program (the Program) to invest in telecommunications infrastructure to improve mobile coverage and competition across Australia.

The Program is supported by co-contributions from state and local governments, mobile network operators (Optus, Telstra, TPG Telecom Ltd (formerly Vodafone) and Field Solutions Group), businesses and local communities.

Under the Program to date (Round 1, Round 2 , the Priority Locations Round, Round 4, Round 5 and Round 5A), the Government's commitment has generated a total investment of more than $875 million, to deliver more than 1,270 new mobile base stations across Australia.

For more information about these rounds, including information on how the locations of base stations were selected, see the Mobile Black Spot Program's FAQs page.

Round 5A

In July 2021, the Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, announced the results of the Round 5A competitive assessment process.

Round 5A is funding 67 new mobile base stations (15 Field Solutions Group, 4 Optus and 48 Telstra) which will address coverage issues across regional and remote Australia, including in bushfire prone areas and along major highways.

Round 5A is funding three trials that will test ways the Mobile Network Operators can roll out shared mobile infrastructure to reduce cost and provide new coverage from more than one carrier, including a trial solution consisting of a cluster of seven base stations extending from Thargomindah to Waihora in Queensland that will provide neutral hosting services and two solutions supporting domestic roaming.

For further information about Round 5A see the Mobile Black Spot Program's FAQs page.

Round 6

The Government has committed $80 million for Round 6 of the Program. The design process for Round 6 is expected to commence soon.

Improving connectivity in Northern Australia

As part of the 2021–22 Budget, the Government announced $68.5 million of dedicated funding to improve telecommunications infrastructure across Northern Australia through the Mobile Black Spot Program and the Regional Connectivity Program. This initiative will support projects which respond to the specific connectivity needs of rural and remote communities in the north. Consultation on the design of these initiatives is expected to commence in the second half of 2021.

Program update—May 2021

The Mobile Black Spot Program is delivering improved coverage outcomes and benefits to the Australian community with 926 base stations activated as at 31 May 2021.

Base stations funded under the first five rounds of the Program are scheduled to be operational by 30 June 2022.

Information about the expected timing for individual base stations can be found on the websites of Field Solutions Group, OptusTelstra and TPG Telecom (formerly Vodafone).

Base station delays

Due to a range of external factors outside of the direct control of the mobile network operators, some base stations have experienced delays and require additional time in order to be delivered.

Additional information on delays can be found on the Mobile Black Spot Program's FAQs page.

Base stations that are no longer required or cannot be built

Under the Program there are a small number of planned base stations that cannot be built at the original scheduled location. In these cases the mobile network operator will explore all options to deliver new and improved coverage to the original planned area including investigating alternative sites.

There are also a small number of base stations that are no longer required to be built as coverage is now being delivered by one or more base stations nearby. In these cases the funding for the original base station has been used to fund an alternative site.

Further information, including a list of alternative sites and a list of base stations that will no longer be built under the Program, is available on the Mobile Black Spot Program's FAQs page.

Contacts

Email: mobilecoverage@communications.gov.au.

Mobile Black Spot Program
GPO Box 594
Canberra ACT 2601

Additional information and resources

Round 1 funded base stations

Round 2 funded base stations

Government Priority Locations

Round 4

Round 5

Round 5A

Mobile black spot location database