NSW spends $15 million to improve mobile phone coverage


The NSW government has accelerated funding for the Mobile Black Spots Program under a $15 million budget allocation this financial year.

The NSW government is spending $15 million to improve mobile phone coverage across cities, towns and regional areas. This funding is one key focus of the state’s 2016-17 budget for round 2 of the program.

Minister for Regional Development and Small Business John Barilaro said NSW has already committed $24 million to round 1 of this program. This helps fix 795 mobile phone black spots, and delivers 144 new or upgraded mobile base stations. This coverage spans more than 14,000 square kilometres.

The $15 million for round 2 of the Mobile Black Spots Program tops up funding already committed by the Commonwealth. Contributions are also being targeted from mobile phone carriers.

“Connecting new areas to mobile phone and internet coverage changes people’s lives,” noted Barilaro. “Apart from the obvious social and business benefits, this program also greatly enhances the capacity of emergency services to respond to medical emergencies, bushfires and floods.”

In other funding, the NSW budget includes $68 million for targeted projects for regional NSW. This funding seeks to create jobs, provide new infrastructure, and improve service delivery for people and small businesses.

Thirty per cent of the $190 million of Jobs for NSW Fund is dedicated to regional job growth. There is another $786 million allocated for training and skills involving workers and students.

Other budget highlights include $15 million to support small businesses through the Business Connect program. This includes support for disrupted industries, including taxis and hire car operators that are impacted by Uber services.