Telstra and the Australian government have announced the 135 regional and remote locations that will receive 4G mobile connectivity thanks to the small cells being deployed under the government's mobile blackspot program. The new infrastructure will provide faster and more reliable mobile connectivity for those living within up to 300 metres of the small cells, Regional Communications Minister Fiona Nash said. "The small cells will deliver improved mobile data coverage in a 200- to 300-metre radius around the site, helping residents and local business owners access the information and online services they need," Nash said on Saturday. "Small cells are a great way of providing access to fast data services in regional and remote communities where it may not otherwise be economical to do so. "These sites complement the new mobile base stations being rolled out under the Mobile Black Spot Programme by targeting small, localised blackspots where access to data services is a problem.
The Victorian government has announced that it will be spending AU$1.2 million to expand the free public Wi-Fi network in Shepparton to reach educational and youth facilities, parks, reserves, and Neighbourhood Houses learning centres. The expansion will begin in the second half of this year to go live in the second half of 2019, with the state government to choose the additional locations in partnership with the City of Greater Shepparton. "As one of the state's largest regional centres, Shepparton deserves to have access to free world-class Wi-Fi," Victorian Minister for Innovation and the Digital Economy Philip Dalidakis said. "This is a strong investment in Shepparton's digital economy. It will enhance connectivity for residents, businesses, and visitors."
The Victorian government has teamed up with Australia's two largest mobile networks to increase coverage to 28 communities across the state under round 3 of its Victorian Mobile Black Spot Project. According to the government, for its AU$11 million contribution, the 28 new towers will cover 2,000 square kilometres and 4,000 premises. Optus will build 11 of the towers, with Telstra handling the remaining 17. Telstra said it was awarded AU$7 million for its towers, which it will match, as well as setting aside AU$1 million for the use of small cell and its Go repeaters. Australia's incumbent telco said it expects the sites to be connected by the end of 2019. In its 2018-19 state Budget, Victoria committed AU$11 million to the second round of the Victorian Mobile Black Spot Project, from which it expected 45 new base stations.
Telstra has announced its new intelligent antenna, the Telstra Go Repeater, which it said boosts or provides mobile voice and data services in regional areas and is available as either a stationary or portable solution. The Telstra Go Repeater works on the 3G, 4G, and 4GX networks across the 850MHz, 700MHz, and 1800MHz spectrum bands, receiving signal through its external antenna and then "enhancing or retransmitting" the mobile signal to an indoor or in-vehicle antenna. The solution was developed under the telco's three-year AU$2.2 billion investment in its regional mobile network, Telstra said. "In addition to upgrading our mobile network in hundreds of regional locations to 4GX, bringing mobile coverage to some of the most remote communities of Australia, we also continue to look for ways to help customers connect with a number of products available like the Telstra Go Repeater that have been developed with our regional customers in mind," Telstra GM of Mobile Devices Richard Noonan said. The stationary Telstra Go Repeater is priced at AU$648 outright and the portable version at AU$720, with the solution also available on monthly repayment plans.
The Australian government has revealed which telcos will be taking a slice of the AU$60 million funding under round three of the mobile blackspots program, with Telstra being designated 89 locations across the nation. Under the so-called "priority" round of the mobile blackspots program, Telstra will build out macro base stations in Baldersleigh, Bombala, Brooklyn/Dangar Island, Carwoola, Clyde Mountain, Copeton Dam, Crosslands Reserve, Delegate, Dirnaseer, East Lynne, Fig Tree Hill, Gresford, Grose Vale, Kangaroo Valley, Killcare, Kingstown, Megalong Valley, Nammoona, Ramornie, Sussex Inlet/Wandandian/Bewong, Wantabadgery, Wendoree Park, Yellow Rock, and Yorklea, New South Wales.