Telstra has scored a $39.2 million contract with the Western Australian government to build the Regional Mobile Communication Project (RMCP), following a competitive tender process.
The program, which was first flagged in 2010, aims to invest in new telecommunications network infrastructure to expand terrestrial mobile, voice, and high-speed wireless data broadband to improve highway and town-to-town coverage in regional, rural and remote communities.
It is part of the government's Royalties for Regions fund, expected to deliver part of the total $120 million funding to cover mobile blackspots, and will involve Telstra building 113 new mobile sites to increase mobile coverage in rural and remote areas, with an estimated rollout rate of 30 to 40 sites per year over three years.
A spokesperson for the Regional Development Minister’s office said construction has begun with the identification of sites, following which the schedule will be dependent on gaining access and development approval.
“There are some towers that will be able to be set up and work in the original first few years but they will be priority areas that they’ll target with regard to emergency services and then roll out the rest of the sites over the next two to three years,” the spokesperson said.
According to Science and Innovation Minister, John Day, the project will deliver about $106 million in value to the state including increased geographical and highway coverage of mobile voice and wireless broadband infrastructure, improved voice and data services for rural and remote areas, and improved capabilities for emergency services organisations.
“This will increase mobile phone coverage in the State by up to 22 per cent while significantly boosting access to next generation broadband services,” Day said in a statement.
According to Regional Development Minister, Brendon Grylls, the program will build on the $94.5 million investment in the Community Safety Network.
“The Regional Mobile Communications Project will not only benefit individuals and businesses, it will have a huge impact on the delivery of State Government and emergency services, especially in communities prone to bushfire and road trauma,” Grylls said.
“Public safety in the regions will be boosted with enhanced emergency radio and mobile telecommunication coverage, which is a great outcome for regional WA.
“Firefighters and emergency medical services can use wireless broadband to download vital information while out in the field and be able to remotely access and transmit information in real time.”
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