Farmer Wants A Wi-Fi

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Okay, so it's not actually wi-fi. But Optus has just scored funding to build 114 new mobile sites as part of the Federal Government's $60 million second round of funding for its Mobile Black Spots Program, aimed at improving mobile coverage across regional and rural Australia.

The announcement comes the day after a new coalition fighting to end the rural "data drought" was announced.

David Epstein, Vice President, Corporate and Regulatory Affairs said, "Optus is pleased to be working with Federal and State Governments on the delivery of mobile services in regional and remote parts of Australia. We thank all Governments for investing in such a crucial program which together with Optus' ongoing mobile investment program, will ensure those living in remote and regional areas have access to reliable mobile coverage."

"Real investment in regional and remote telecommunications services is the only sustainable way to improve competition, and strength and breadth of coverage in regional Australia. Optus has embarked on an extensive regional network investment program and today’s Mobile Black Spots announcement will supplement additional investment in regional telecommunications."

From the program nationally, Optus has secured $26.4 million in Federal and State Government funding and will co-contribute a further $36.4 million to provide dedicated connectivity to thousands of Australians. Optus' bid includes funding for 65 mobile base stations as well as the deployment of 49 satellite small cells.

The Optus 4G network currently reaches 95.7 per cent of the Australian population with 5,479 4G mobile sites. Of these sites, over 4,400 have been upgraded to 700 MHz spectrum as at 31 October 2016.

Optus has also invested $196 million for regional licences in the 1800MHz spectrum band to deliver improved services for Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. To date, Optus has launched services using this spectrum in selected locations in Bendigo in Victoria; Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Nowra and Vincentia in New South Wales; and Toowoomba in Queensland.

Using the funding, Optus will build 23 sites in WA, 13 sites in NT, 18 sites in NSW, 27 sites in QLD, 2 sites in TAS, 15 sites in SA and 16 sites in VIC.