​NT government, Telstra sign $30m infrastructure agreement

Deal will offer remote communities mobile, fixed broadband services

Telstra has signed a $30 million, three year infrastructure deal with the Northern Territory government to help connect remote communities with mobile and fixed broadband services.

A Telstra spokesperson said it was still confirming if the mobile services would be 3G or 4G.

The telco has also promised $4.5 million over three years to deliver digital literacy, cyber safety programs and telehealth services in the NT.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said that exploring effective uses of new technology in remote communities in the NT was a long term commitment.

“Our Reconciliation Action Plan [RAP] for 2015 to 2018 will extend Telstra’s partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and commits to a range of initiatives to address the current barriers to digital inclusion,” he said.

This includes an Indigenous Digital Excellence program to help people make use of digital technology, digital mentors in the NT and infrastructure development.

The telco also plans to double the employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the company. Telstra currently has 161 employees who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander - 0.4 per cent of the workforce.

Earlier this year Telstra emerged as the big winner from the federal government's $100 million mobile blackspot program. The telco will build the majority of new and upgraded mobile base stations under the program, which is designed to provide coverage to regional parts of Australia.

In July last year Telstra switched on network technologies so that 13 remote NT communities could access education, healthcare and business services as part of a $4.5 million co-investment with the NT government.

“The impact of these programs - bringing greater economic activity to the bush and its communities - is life changing for many,” said Penn.

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