Telstra big winner in government’s mobile black spot program

Government to help telco deliver coverage at 89 sites

The government will help fund efforts by Telstra to deliver mobile coverage in 89 under-served areas as part of the latest round of the mobile black spot program.

Telstra said it would deliver coverage at 84 of the sites through mobile base stations; the remaining five will be served through 4G small cells. The sites are spread throughout South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia.

Optus received funding for 12 sites across New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania.

Vodafone received funding for a new mobile site at the Melbourne suburb of Kalorama.

The black spot program has been a source of controversy. An audit of the first round of the program said that it “did not sufficiently target funding toward the expansion of coverage where coverage had not previously existed”.

The second round was criticised by both Labor and Vodafone and the South Australian government requested an “urgent investigation” by the auditor-general.

Earlier this year the Victorian government said it had “abandoned” the program.

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