On 5 May 2021, the Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, announced the $16.4 million Peri-Urban Mobile Program (PUMP).
PUMP will deliver funding to improve mobile connectivity in bushfire priority areas along the edges of Australia’s major cities. The peri-urban fringe is where the bush meets the edges of the suburbs, creating bushfire risks for those living and working in those areas.
Recent bushfires have shown the importance of reliable mobile services during extreme events. By improving mobile connectivity in these areas, communities will be able to receive vital information during emergencies, seek help if needed and stay in touch with loved ones.
PUMP will complement the highly successful Mobile Black Spot Program, providing grant funding to mobile network operators and infrastructure providers to deploy new mobile phone infrastructure to address mobile reception and coverage issues in peri-urban areas.
Funded solutions will improve connectivity and safety in bushfire-prone areas, help get businesses and people living in and visiting these areas online, lifting productivity, local digital capability and investment.
The Government has engaged with expert organisations such as the CSIRO to design the Program.
On 29 July 2021, the Government released the draft program guidelines for a four-week public consultation. The Government is now considering feedback. Further information on the consultation can be found at the PUMP Have your say page.