The Albanese Government will partner with State and Territory Governments on trials to boost multi-carrier coverage on roads, following the landmark first meeting of the Regional Connectivity Ministers Roundtable in mid-August.
The trials – led by the Commonwealth in partnership with State and Territory Governments – will deliver expanded mobile coverage and test the best ways to maximise the benefit of mobile infrastructure for all Australians, regardless of their mobile carrier.
Departmental officials will begin initial work on the trials, responding to the unique circumstances and coverage challenges experienced in participating States and Territories.
The Regional Connectivity Ministers Roundtable has been established to ensure greater collaboration between governments to improve communications outcomes for regional and rural communities, and First Nations Australians.
Working together in this way will lead to more streamlined delivery of connectivity, help to bridge the digital divide, and allow more Australians to take part in an increasingly digital society and economy.
The Roundtable also reached in-principle agreement on a number of other areas for collaboration including the need to target First Nations digital inclusion, as well as pooling communications data holdings and collaboration on the national mobile coverage audit.
The intention is to hold the Roundtable every six months, with the second Roundtable to be held in early 2024.
The Albanese Government is delivering the largest regional communications funding package since the establishment of the NBN and is investing more than $2.2 billion to improve telecommunications infrastructure and services, to improve mobile and broadband connectivity and resilience in rural and regional Australia.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:
“The Albanese Government is determined to narrow the digital divide in rural and regional Australia.
“It is very pleasing to see the high degree of interest and engagement from State and Territory Ministers who share a similar commitment.
“The Regional Connectivity Ministers meeting is the first time Ministers from all jurisdictions have convened to discuss our shared commitment to leaving no one behind.
“All Ministers have a shared view of the critical and increasing importance of connectivity and digital inclusion, and agreed that greater collaboration across the country will lead to better results.
“The new multi-carrier mobile coverage trials – led by the Commonwealth in partnership with States and Territories – will test the best ways to significantly increase coverage for Australians regardless of their mobile carrier.
“I look forward to seeing this trial progress, and continuing the Commonwealth’s constructive engagement with the States and Territories to boost digital inclusion for more Australian.”