Wed, 26 Aug 2015 - 21:00
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Visit to Dalton, NSW

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to visit Dalton NSW with Member for Hume Angus Taylor MP to experience a live demo of a Telstra 4G mini-base station.

As part of the Abbott Government’s $385 million Mobile Black Spot Programme, Telstra has committed to provide 250 4G mini-base stations around the country. This will be in addition to the 499 new or upgraded mobile base stations to be built around Australia under the programme, including 429 Telstra base stations and 70 Vodafone base stations.

There will be 50 mini base stations built in Queensland, with the locations to be agreed with the Queensland Government, and a further 200 Australia-wide with the locations to be agreed with the Australian Government.

These 4G mini-base stations will provide mobile data coverage in a radius of around 200-300 metres, and will support voice services as the technology for 4G-based voice becomes available in coming months. We ran a speed test standing near the mini-base station, experiencing download speeds peaking at around 30 Mbps.

There are a number of advantages to installing a 4G mini-base station - they are relatively inexpensive, simple to install and are an ideal technology to provide mobile connectivity in small towns and villages where a major base station would be economically unviable. To be eligible to receive a 4G mini-base station, the town must have a Telstra exchange which is connected to optical fibre.

The Government expects to confirm the locations for the 4G mini base stations with Telstra during the second half of 2015, with the rollout of the 4G mini base stations to commence in 2016. We have started our discussions with Telstra with a view to identifying locations around Australia where these 4G mini base stations would deliver the most benefit.

Telstra’s commitment to build 250 new 4G mini base stations offers further opportunities to meet unmet demand and provide new or improved mobile coverage to more locations around regional and remote Australia.

This commitment in relation to 4G mini base stations is in addition to, and quite separate from, the Abbott Government’s commitment to spend a further $60 million on phase 2 of the Mobile Black Spots Programme – and again we will seeking to work with the state governments, and the mobile network operators, to leverage this money further.