Mobile black spots: who gets the money?

Australians have nominated 6000 mobile phone black spots

AUSTRALIANS have nominated 6000 mobile phone black spots which will compete for $100 million in federal funding.

With two-thirds of all Australia's telecommunications black spots in Victoria and Tasmania, frustration is growing in the agricultural sectors of both States.

In Victoria, notorious black spots are in the north-east, the Otways and the Mallee.

Problems arise for both emergency services - particularly during the fire season - but also in the uptake of new technologies and running of effective businesses.

The Bussell family, Carboor Upper, near Wangaratta, Victoria, are a good case in point.

Running Alpine Dorpers as a paddock-to-plate operation, there are constant concerns about everything from uploading data from sheep eartags to basic mobile communication.

Nicola Bussell, who is also involved with the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF), reckons the first question is how will the government determine who gets the money?

The government wants to leverage the $100m by attracting major telcos, such as Optus and Telstra, and State and local governments.

It may also be the case one mobile phone tower might cover off a number of black spots.

But another big question remains - while the State government has made a pre-election commitment of $40m to upgrade telecommunications, how much will go to actual black spots in the bush?

The State Labor opposition has dodged the funding question, refusing to pledge funding for black spots, if elected.

The VFF's frustration, in seeking support and clarity, is palpable.

Date: Newest first | Oldest first


16/10/2014 5:59:27 AM

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