Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters says the comprehensive, targeted plan will ensure better mobile coverage on roads, on farms, and across regional communities - and better broadband too.
“We’ll commence an independent national audit of mobile coverage to identify mobile blackspots and the places most in need of coverage upgrades,” Chesters said.
“I have spoken to dozens of locals who have raised concerns over mobile reception and connectivity in Kyneton and surrounding areas.
“I also know from firsthand experience the impact of not having access to reliable mobile reception can have on your workday when I’m working in Kyneton. It’s frustrating.
“Labor will expand multi-carrier mobile coverage in regional homes and businesses, as well as along roads and highways – because we know people in rural and regional Australia often travel long distances and need to be connected for both convenience and safety.”
Boosting coverage on roads and in regional communities
A key element of Labor’s Better Connectivity For Rural and Regional Australia plan will be the establishment of a $400 million fund to expand multi-carrier mobile coverage along roads, as well as for regional homes and businesses.
To support this, Labor will commit $20 million to commence in 2022 an independent national audit of mobile coverage to establish an evidence baseline to guide future priorities.
A competitive tender process will be used to identify a partner company capable of placing mobile signal measurement devices on Australia Post’s transport assets, to gather the best information possible.
Priorities will be assessed independently to maximise benefits, and this will include consultation with Infrastructure Australia, and broader community consultation.
Boosting connectivity for regional and peri-urban households and businesses
Labor will also commit $200 million to continue investing in place-based connectivity projects.
Drawing from the Regional Connectivity Program, funded projects could include better mobile voice and data coverage, targeted fibre deployments, and improved microwave and fibre backhaul capacity to locations across regional and remote Australia.
Boosting on-farm connectivity for farmers
To support the productivity and safety of our farmers, Labor will also commit $30 million to help expand on-farm connectivity and enable better wireless extension solutions on the field.
This will enable more farmers to fully utilise sensor and connected-machinery technology to improve the efficiency of domestic food production and support the export growth potential of the sector.
Labor will boost funding for the Regional Tech Hub by $6 million to serve as a trusted intermediary and source of free and independent advice.
These initiatives supplement existing commitments Labor has made to:
- Expand full-fibre NBN access to 660,000 more regional homes and businesses.
- Upgrade the NBN fixed-wireless network to offer speeds between 100 and 250 megabits per second for all users.
- Increase NBN satellite data allowances to 90 gigabytes a month and unmeter data between midnight and 4 pm, with an ambition to go beyond 100 gigabytes.