Telstra has constructed a mobile base station at what it says could be Australia's most remote mobile black spot on the island of Erub, providing its approximately 300 residents with 3G and 4G access.
Also referred to as Darnley Island, Erub is located in the eastern island group of Torres Strait approximately 180km from the northern tip of Queensland, and 60km from the southern coast of Papua New Guinea. Erub is past of Queensland and has a population of approximately 300 people.
Prior to the mobile base station, the island was connected with radio links, which provided landline coverage, as well as limited access to 3G from neighbouring islands.
“The remoteness of the site made delivering coverage to the community equally challenging and rewarding," said Telstra area general manager Rachel Cliffe.
"Crews and equipment had to be either flown in or arrive by boat, whilst battling monsoonal rain, but the state of the art connectivity that is now being delivered to the island is bringing many benefits.
“As well as being able to make calls and access fast wireless data, this project importantly opens up digital doors to education, health and business opportunities to benefit some of Australia’s most remote communities.”
The new mobile station was constructed as part of the federal government's mobile black spot program to address poor mobile coverage in regional areas and small communities.
The Erub mobile station marks the 450th such construction Telstra has set up as part of the program, which is funded by the federal government, state government and Australia's three telco network operators: Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.
Telstra said that it has so far invested $260 million in the program, which includes 200 4G small cells, and has expanded mobile coverage by more than 160,000 square km across Australia.
“So far, more than 60 million calls have been made and more than 2500 terabytes of data have been downloaded thanks to these new base stations, showing how important connectivity is to regional and remote communities.”
Regional communications minister Bridget McKenzie said the third round of the program has just commenced, which will see all 125 priority black spot locations receive improved coverage.
"I look forward to seeing more people in the regions getting better mobile coverage to help them to stay connected, access education and do business,” said McKenzie.