Vodafone has announced the locations of 32 new mobile base stations it will build as part of a $9 million investment by the telco to boost its coverage in regional Australia.
The base stations in New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia are in addition to 70 sites the telco is building using funding from the first round of the federal government’s mobile blackspot program.
Vodafone’s chief strategy officer, Dan Lloyd, repeated the telco’s call for the blackspot program to be made a permanent government program.
The program’s second round is currently underway. Both Telstra and Vodafone walked away with funding from the first round. There is $60 million up for grabs in round two, compared to $100 million in round one. The program operates on a co-funding model.
Both the Coalition and Labor have pledged an additional $60 million in government funding for the blackspot program.
Lloyd said that a portion of the funding currently put towards the Universal Service Obligation could be redirected to boost blackspot funding.
The USO provides funding for Telstra to ensure that Australians in remote areas have access to a landline telephone service.
USO reform has been backed by Infrastructure Australia. The subsidy is currently the subject of a 12-month Productivity Commission inquiry, which is due to issue its report in April 2017.
Locations of the new Vodafone base stations New South Wales (19): Coffs Harbour Park Beach, Coffs Harbour CBD, Coffs Harbour West, Toormina, Coffs Harbour Industrial, Coffs Harbour Jetty, Tamworth showgrounds, South Tamworth, West Tamworth, Taminda, Tamworth Golden Guitar, Coffs Harbour North, Berrigan, Yeoval, Cudal, Tallimba North, Rushes Creek, Bendemeer and Kootingal.
Queensland (7): Bundaberg East, Bundaberg North, Svensson Heights, Bargara, Elliots Heads, Burnett Heads and Drillham.
Tasmania (4): Myrtle Bank, Scottsdale, Campania and Ouse.
Western Australia (2): Carrabin, Burracoppin.