Optus and the Victorian government have announced a $16 million co-investment agreement. The agreement will see the telco roll out 25 new mobile sites in regional parts of the state.
Optus said it was contributing the majority of the funds under the agreement.
The new sites are expected to be live by the end of 2018.
“This co-investment is a fantastic announcement for Victoria, and Optus is extremely proud to be working with the Victorian government on this project that will allow Optus to build an additional 25 mobile sites across regional Victoria,” Optus vice-president of regulatory and public affairs Andrew Sheridan said.
In total the state government has helped fund 166 mobile sites across Victoria, according to minister for innovation and the digital economy Philip Dalidakis.
“Those living in regional Victoria deserve better mobile coverage in their homes, workplaces and while they travel – and we thank Optus for helping us get on with the job of delivering it,” the minister said.
The state government has criticised the federal Mobile Black Spot Program, with only 19 out of 125 sites expected to receive funding under round three of the program located in Victoria.
Last year the first round of the federal program was subject to an unflattering audit, with the Australian National Audit Office finding it “did not sufficiently target funding toward the expansion of coverage where coverage had not previously existed.”
Earlier this year Optus revealed it was planning to invest $1 billion in boosting its mobile coverage of regional Australia.
The telco will build 500 new mobile sites in regional and remote areas. The black spot program will help fund 114 of the sites. Optus is also completing the rollout of 4G support across its network, upgrading 1800 3G sites, as well as adding additional capacity to more than 200 existing 4G sites.