Digital connection in the Eyre Peninsula will receive a boost with an $850,000 partnership to tackle a mobile black spot affecting rural communities around Wudinna.
The new tower is being delivered thanks to funding from the Marshall Liberal Government, Wudinna District Council and Optus.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said digital connection is vital for regional communities.
“The Marshall Liberal Government has long-recognised the importance of effective telecommunications as critical infrastructure for our rural and regional communities,” said Minister Whetstone.
“Mobile phone coverage and connectivity is vital for people living in regional areas, especially at a time like this, when COVID-19 restrictions mean that many families are in isolation and are heavily reliant on mobile coverage to stay connected.
“Improved mobile coverage also leads to economic development opportunities for new and existing businesses and improved service delivery in areas such as health and education.
“Unfortunately, the former Labor Government saw a large backlog in mobile phone black spots across South Australia develop, an issue we remain committed to proactively addressing by working with federal and local governments as well as telecommunications providers.
“As part of Round 5 of the Commonwealth’s Mobile Black Spot Program, I invited regional communities interested in elevating their black spot site for funding consideration to flag their interest in co-funding a mobile phone black spot.
“The District Council of Wudinna expressed a strong desire to be involved and it’s pleasing to be able to work collaboratively with them and Optus to deliver this black spot solution for the Eyre Peninsula.”
Member for Flinders Peter Treloar said the new mobile phone tower was a great result for the local community.
“We have been looking to improve mobile phone coverage for years in Wudinna, as it’s essential for townships to stay connected, particularly now,” said Mr Treloar.
“Our regional communities can only grow if we have a reliable service and keep improving our telecommunications.
“A reliable mobile phone service makes a significant difference for families, individuals and businesses living and working in remote areas. This will improve safety for those in the Wudinna area as well as open up new economic opportunities.”
Optus Territory General Manager Regional SA Robert Seymour said “It’s really rewarding for us to be making a difference in remote communities.
“This additional infrastructure will give Australians in rural areas the improved coverage that they need to stay connected with their family and friends, and to deliver for their business and community.”
The South Australian Mobile Phone Black Spot Fund has contributed to addressing 38 mobile phone black spot locations in regional South Australia through the Commonwealth’s Mobile Black Spot Program Rounds 4 and 5 and through this direct negotiation with Optus and the District Council of Wudinna.
This outcome represents a total State Government investment of more than $6.4 million in mobile infrastructure in regional and remote South Australia.