The Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan today welcomed Paul Fletcher MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, to Page to discuss the Coalition’s $100 million Mobile Coverage Programme.
“This visit is an opportunity for the community to have some input into our $100 million Mobile Coverage Programme,” Mr Hogan said.
The Mobile Coverage Programme is a Federal Government initiative to extend mobile phone coverage and competition in regional Australia.
“We know this area has patchy mobile coverage and it’s affecting households and businesses. The reason I have invited Mr Fletcher to Page is so he can see first-hand the problems we face.”
When Natasha Guthrie moved her successful new business Wicked Waiters to Wyrallah in January she said she had no idea how it would harm her business.
“We are about 12 minutes from where we were at Lismore Heights but now to check our messages and answer calls we have to drive 200 metres up the road to get reception,” she said.
“In business that is built on customer service, we have to respond to inquiries immediately or people go elsewhere.”
Mr Hogan said this is one of many stories he had been told by people concerned about black spots, with one company in Kyogle installing its own mobile booster to improve reception.
“I am a passionate advocate for better mobile coverage and I am pleased that the community has been able to share information about the significant impact of mobile phone black spots,” Mr Hogan said.
“I am working hard to ensure Page gets its fair share of this Federal funding.”
“Lack of connectivity to emergency services in critical situations is a problem that needs to be addressed, particularly in areas of high fire danger.”
Mr Fletcher said the Government has committed to invest $100 million to improve mobile phone coverage in regional, outer metropolitan and remote communities around Australia.
“The funding has two elements. The $80 million Mobile Network Expansion Program will improve mobile coverage along major transport routes, in small communities and in areas that are prone to experiencing natural disasters; the $20 million Mobile Black Spot Program will improve mobile coverage in locations with unique coverage problems,” he said.
“Today’s discussions will give me a good sense of the importance of mobile phone coverage to rural communities like those in Page. I encourage everyone to have their say on the Mobile Coverage Programme by responding to the government’s recently issued discussion paper,” Mr Fletcher said.
“The funding for this national program will be allocated via an open and transparent process with the detailed rules to be announced in due course following consultation with stakeholders.”
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