The reliability of mobile phone networks is a significant and growing concern across the New England, especially during natural disasters like bush fires.
The federal government says it is delivering on its commitment to improve the resilience of communications services across regional, rural and remote Australia, with consultation now open on the draft guidelines for Round 2 of the $15 million Mobile Network Hardening Program.
The Mobile Network Hardening Program is an initiative that assists the mobile network operators, infrastructure providers and infrastructure mangers to improve the resilience of Australia’s regional mobile network telecommunications infrastructure to:
- prevent outages in the event of a Natural Disaster;
- strengthen the resilience of telecommunications facilities to allow them to operate for longer during bushfires and other Natural Disasters; and/or
- enable the rapid restoration of services following an outage.
Its design will be informed by feedback from regional Australians, community groups and the telco industry to ensure the final guidelines meet the needs of communities at-risk of natural disasters.
Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland, says she strongly encourages regional Australians and organisations to have their say on the program.
“Australians deserve world class connectivity, no matter where they live or work. In times of crisis, access to reliable connectivity can literally be a matter of life and death.”
“While no telecommunications network can ever be 100 per cent disaster-proof, the Albanese Government is determined to reduce the risk of communications outages during natural disasters.”
Funding for further rounds of the program was confirmed in the October 2022–23 Federal Budget as part of the Albanese Government’s $1.1 billion Better Connectivity Plan for Regional and Rural Australia. In total, the Albanese Government is investing $2.2 billion in regional communications – the most significant investment in this critical area since the inception of the National Broadband Network.
Consultation on the Round 2 guidelines is open until Monday 29 May 2023 at 5pm AEDT. To view the draft guidelines or to make a submission, please visit: www.infrastructure.gov.au/have-your-say
For more information on the Mobile Network Hardening Program, visit www.infrastructure.gov.au/media-communications-arts/phone/mobile-network-hardening-program
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