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Mobile coverage to improve across Victoria

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Residents and councils are being encouraged to have their say on new draft guidelines for the next round of the Peri-Urban Mobile Program, PUMP.

Peri-urban fringes – where the bush meets the edges of the suburbs – can create challenges for communications infrastructure and natural disaster response, with communities in these areas underserved because of high costs, difficult terrain, planning challenges and lower population densities.

PUMP aims to improve mobile coverage on urban fringes of communities across Australia by co-investing with mobile network operators on localised projects.

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Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell said poor mobile coverage was consistently raised with him by community members.

“Having access to reliable coverage during a natural disaster can be a matter of life and death,” he said.

“That’s why [we are] committed to improving mobile coverage across Australia, including along our peri-urban fringes, to ensure local communities can stay in touch and receive information when they need it most.”

A project noticeboard has been established as part of the consultation process to help councils and community groups identify mobile coverage and reception issues in the peri-urban fringe, as well as form partnerships with the telecommunications sector to develop applications for funding.

Councils and community groups are invited to upload their project proposals to the noticeboard throughout the application process, which will be open until applications for this round close on August 16.

PUMP complements previous investments through the $20 million Broadcasting Resilience Program and the $15 million Mobile Network Hardening Program.

“I strongly encourage locals to have a look at the draft guidelines and have their say to ensure this next round of the PUMP delivers the investment our community needs,” Mr Mitchell said.

To view the draft grant opportunity guidelines or to make a submission, visit www.infrastructure.gov.au/have-your-say.

For more information on PUMP, visit www.infrastructure.gov.au/pump.

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