20 December, 2022
Six new mobile base stations coming to Somerset
AFTER mobile towers installed throughout the Somerset region a few years ago were found to be too short to make any adequate improvements, the Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program is now funding the delivery of more than 1,270 new mobile base stations across Australia to improve mobile coverage to regional communities – including six new base stations in the Somerset Region.
This comes just as a parliamentary inquiry was held on November 30 regarding how the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA’s) management of radiofrequency spectrum may impact on regional mobile phone coverage.
The House Communications and the Arts Committee heard how ACMA oversees more than 170,000 commercial, government and individual licensees operating in Australia for its parliamentary inquiry into co‑investment in regional mobile carrier infrastructure.
Spectrum is a key input for the delivery of wireless broadband (fixed and mobile), satellite and broadcasting services, according to ACMA.
Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann said, “The Albanese Labor Government is determined to improve connectivity in rural and regional Australia, and has substantially increased funding for regional communications.
“Our Better Connectivity Plan for Regional and Rural Australia in the October Budget delivered a substantial increase in funding of around $1.2 billion over five years.
“This includes $400 million to expand multi-carrier mobile coverage and improve communications resilience, and $200 million to fund place-based communications solutions through additional rounds of the Regional Connectivity Program.
“The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts will start consultation soon on guidelines for the next rounds of these programs, and will be accepting applications for new mobile and other communications infrastructure under those rounds.”
Mr Neumann said that in addition to the six new base stations set to be installed across Somerset, a new backup NBN Sky Muster satellite will also be installed at the Main Administration Centre in Kilcoy under the Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters (STAND) program to help residents stay connected during natural disasters.
“Given spectrum is a finite resource, we need to manage it properly to maximise the benefits of communications networks in regional areas like the Somerset, while also investing in infrastructure like mobile phone towers to make use of the spectrum.
“The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is Australia’s telecommunications regulator, and is responsible for managing and licensing spectrum.
“A Federal Parliamentary inquiry is currently looking at whether co-investment could encourage telecommunications providers to invest in and share ‘multi-carrier’ mobile towers in regional areas to improve the range and reliability of their services, and help narrow the digital divide.
“The House Communications and Arts Committee inquiry is currently considering submissions and will report back on its findings and recommendations in the coming months.”