State & territory govts partner to boost multi-carrier coverage


Regional communications ministers will partner with the Federal Government to boost multi-carrier mobile coverage on roads, following the Regional Connectivity Ministers Roundtable in mid-August.

The Commonwealth, in partnership with state and territory governments, will engage in a trial to deliver expanded mobile coverage and maximise the benefits of mobile infrastructure, regardless of the mobile carriers.

The exercise, which will see the departmental officials work on the trials by responding to the unique circumstances and coverage challenges experienced in participating states and territories, will aim, the Government said, to streamline the delivery of connectivity, bridge the digital divide, and allow more Australians to take part in an increasingly digital society and economy.

“It is very pleasing to see the high degree of interest and engagement from state and territory ministers who share a similar commitment,” Michelle Rowland, Minister for Communications, said.

“The Regional Connectivity Ministers meeting is the first time Ministers from all jurisdictions have convened to discuss our shared commitment to leaving no one behind.

“All Ministers have a shared view of the critical and increasing importance of connectivity and digital inclusion, and agreed that greater collaboration across the country will lead to better results.

The Roundtable also reached in-principle agreement on a number of other areas for collaboration including the need to target First Nations digital inclusion, as well as pooling communications data holdings and collaboration on the national mobile coverage audit.

The Minister said that the intention was to hold the Roundtable every six months, with the second Roundtable to be held in early 2024.

The Federal Government has committed to deliver the largest regional communications funding package since the establishment of the NBN and is investing more than $2.2 billion to improve telecommunications infrastructure and services, to improve mobile and broadband connectivity and resilience in rural and regional Australia.