This week, the Coalition and Labor both announced that if elected they would commit extra funding to the Mobile Black Spot Programme. The announcement that an extra $60 million in funding will be allocated to the Programme is welcomed by ACCAN.
Mobile coverage is a key issue for consumers, particularly those who live in regional, rural, and remote areas. This is clear from the more than 10,600 mobile black spots identified in the Programme so far. Improving mobile coverage is one of ACCAN's ongoing key work priorities.
In March, we launched the 2nd Edition of our Community Consultation Guide. The guide is a practical self-help toolkit for communities to improve their mobile coverage. It sets out steps to identify poor coverage, how to measure the extent of the problem, and how to contact organisations who may be potential co-investors.
The updated version of the guide was informed by the experiences of telcos and communities during Round 1 of the Programme. It contains useful case studies of how consumers and local councils worked with telcos to fix mobile black spots in their communities.
The competitive selection process for Round 2 of the Programme is well underway, meaning that telecommunications providers can bid for a share of $60 million of government funding to improve mobile coverage in identified black spots.
Applications from the mobile providers and infrastructure providers for Round 2 are due by 14 July 2016. The locations that receive funding should be announced in the second half of the year. We encourage communities that have nominated their area under the Programme to download the Community Consultation Guide to assist them in putting together a case for funding.