The Northern Territory government has set out details of which remote communities will receive mobile phone services and, where possible, fixed broadband services as part of a three-year Telstra agreement signed in September.
The communities include Umbakumba, Bulman, Weemol, Minyerri, Kaltukatjara, Yarralin, Manyallaluk and Titjikala.
Communities such as Ali Curung, Barunga and Timber Creek that already have 3G mobile phone services will also have fixed broadband services installed.
Other communities will be considered after feasibility studies by Telstra.
NT government chief minister Adam Giles said the list of communities was chosen based on population, costs, community considerations, potential business benefits, existing or planned telecommunications infrastructure and services along transport corridors.
“This remote telecommunications infrastructure program will bring vital services to the bush and improve the lives of thousands of people living and working in remote communities throughout the Territory,” he said.
“Detailed consultation and engagement will be carried out with the communities to ensure they are supportive, ready and have a strong say in the services to be delivered. Community wishes will be respected and changes may be made to the program in the future if a community has a strong preference not to take up telecommunications services.”
The NT government is also exploring opportunities to work with the federal government’s mobile black spots program. About $5 million will be invested to roll out new or upgraded base stations at Finke, Imanpa, Minjilang, Mount Liebig and Wallace Rockhole.
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.
In addition, nbn (the company) has revealed that 72,000 premises in the NT will be connected to the NBN by September 2018.
The company has a stated goal of connecting 8 million premises around Australia to the NBN by 2020.