In recognition of the need for reliable telecommunications, Royalties for Regions has invested $105 million into funding mobile phone base stations that will see 344 phone towers built or upgraded across the State, increasing coverage by more than 30 per cent.
Whilst responsibility for telecommunications largely rests with the Federal Government, The Nationals understand the importance of adequate service. We will continue to build and improve regional mobile telecommunications by investing $69 million over five years.
Regional Broadband Strategy
Due to the size of Western Australia and the costs associated with service provision, the NBN and regional providers won't provide adequate broadband coverage to many in regional communities.
The Nationals are not satisfied with this situation and through the Royalties for Regions-funded Seizing the Opportunity in Agriculture, we have funded the State Agricultural Telecommunications Infrastructure Improvement Fund. This $22 million fund will create the opportunity for high-priority innovative agricultural telecommunications infrastructure and technology to be constructed.
As well as this, the Nationals believe the NBN should provide fixed wireless technology to all towns in regional WA, with greater than 100 potential connections. If elected we will invest an additional $20 million to develop broadband technologies that ensure these communities are no longer disadvantaged by the growing digital divide.
Regional Telecommunications Project
The Regional Telecommunications Project (RTP) and the Regional Mobile Communications Project (RMCP) have delivered and are delivering 344 new phone towers across regional WA.
To continue the good work of the RTP and RMCP, The Nationals WA commit an additional $20 million to this program.
Local Government Wi-Fi Fund
A number of Local Governments have deployed or are considering local wireless networks in their CBD's or perhaps at a local tourist attraction or related infrastructure.
These Wi-Fi networks support tourism, education and help grow and sustain the patronage of local businesses. The Nationals WA will commit $5 million to a contestable fund to allow Local Governments to deploy local wireless networks in their regions.
Mobile Repeater Rebate
Mobile repeaters can play an important role in securing or improving mobile coverage in fringe reception areas however they are expensive and as a result illegal imported versions are becoming increasingly common.
The Nationals WA will commit $1.5 million to fund a rebate of $500 per legal mobile phone repeater to combat the rise of illegal ones.
State Fibre Taskforce
The Nationals WA will also investigate options to use existing fibre optic networks to deliver high-quality connectivity to regional and remote areas of WA.
If re-elected we will invest $500,000 to create a State Fibre Taskforce to determine which fibre optic cables exist in the current network and their capacity.
For more details on our commitments, read our full policy here.