Govt to splash millions to improve mobile connectivity to bushfire-prone city fringes

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Govt to splash millions to improve mobile connectivity to bushfire-prone city fringes

The Federal Government has announced it plans to spend $16.4 million to improve mobile connectivity for bushfire-prone areas on the outskirts of Australia’s major cities.

The Peri-Urban Mobile Program (PUMP) is set to be unveiled in the 2021-22 Budget, where telcos and infrastructure providers will get grant funding to deploy new mobile phone infrastructure to improve mobile reception and coverage in peri-urban areas.

“Improving coverage on the peri-urban fringe will help communities access vital information during emergencies, seek help if needed and stay in touch with loved ones,” Communications minister Paul Fletcher said.

“PUMP will also improve the quality and reliability of available mobile services, providing benefits on a day-to-day basis for those living and working in these communities.”

The program will determine who gets grant funding via a competitive assessment process on a solution by solution basis with funding awarded based on the coverage outcomes provided by each solution.

“We will continue to invest in targeted programs that improve mobile connectivity across the country to match our increasing reliance on mobile phones, both in an emergency and our day-to-day lives,” Fletcher said.

“This new program will complement the highly successful Mobile Black Spot Program, which is delivering new mobile coverage across regional and remote Australia.”

Fellow MP and member for the Division of Berowra in New South Wales Julian Leeser said in the announcement, “For too long, residents in the outer suburbs have been putting up with poor mobile coverage and extended outages.

“Frustrating at the best of times, this can become a matter of life or death when disasters strike. PUMP has the potential to provide a lifeline for communities like mine.”

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