MOBILE phone black spots in Leichhardt have come under the spotlight today with Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch hosting a roundtable for key community representatives with Paul Fletcher MP, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications.
Mr Fletcher is responsible for implementing the Government’s $100 million Mobile Black Spot Programme, which will improve mobile coverage along major transport routes, in small communities and in locations prone to experiencing natural disasters, as well as addressing unique mobile coverage problems.
“Over the last eight months I’ve received numerous submissions from residents and businessowners throughout Leichhardt and further afield, outlining areas where mobile communication is patchy, unreliable or non-existent,” Mr Entsch said.
“These range from Trinity Beach to Mossman-Daintree, Mt Carbine right through Cape York to Bamaga, from Kuranda and Speewah on the Tableland to Oak Beach and the Torres Strait.
“These have all been passed onto the Department but it was great for Paul Fletcher to hear firsthand from council and affected community representatives as to exactly what needs to be done.”
Mr Fletcher has been to many community meetings around Australia to gather community feedback on mobile coverage issues and to discuss how the Programme will operate.
“The input received today will be included in the database we are maintaining of areas reported to have poor or no mobile coverage,” Mr Fletcher said.
The Government expects to commence a competitive selection process in the second half of this year, with a view to announcing the locations which have been selected for funding in the first half of 2015. The Government anticipates that the first base stations funded under this programme will begin to roll out in the second half of 2015.
“Lives can literally depend on accessing mobile phone networks in emergencies, so expanding mobile phone coverage has clear benefits to public safety ? as well as to the business capacity of the local communities in Leichhardt,” Mr Entsch said.
The Government is accepting nominations of mobile black spots until mid-July 2014. Anyone wishing to report a mobile black spot can email firstname.lastname@example.org and CC email@example.com