NT devotes AU$9m for telco coverage in remote communities

​Remote communities in Australia's Northern Territory are set to get better telecommunications coverage, with the territory's 2015-16 Budget devoting AU$9 million over three years to improve mobile and broadband services in partnership with Telstra.

The Northern Territory government will spend AU$9 million over three years to expand mobile and broadband services in remote communities across Australia's top end.

The plans to improve coverage in remote areas -- in partnership with Telstra -- were outlined in the NT government's 2015-16 Budget, handed down by the territory's Treasurer Dave Tollner on Tuesday.

The NT Department of Corporate and Information Services, which oversees the development of the territory's mobile and broadband services, will also receive AU$12.5 million over three years to deliver the government's ASNEX asset system solution.

The Budget also revealed that the territory is eyeing an additional datacentre facility, allocating AU$3 million for "capital equipment to establish computing capability at a secondary facility to strengthen resiliency of ICT services across government".

Additionally, the government plans to spend AU$1 million to refresh critical mainframe computing infrastructure, AU$1 million for the territory's Data Centre Services (DCS) to continue upgrading the central storage environment, and AU$0.3 million for the expansion of its virtual server computing equipment.

One area that will see a substantial portion of the government's IT spending in 2015-16 is the the territory's public health sector, which will see an investment of AU$20 million in health equipment, technology, and system upgrades.

According to Tollner, the money will help "simplify the way care is delivered and enhance patient outcomes".

He said the spending in this Budget, which is worth AU$6.3 billion, has increased after two frugal years, but is not anticipatory stimulus spending.

Net debt has been cut from an estimated AU$4.1 billion to AU$2.6 billion, in large part due to the sale of the Territory Insurance Office. Tollner said the Budget will reach surplus by 2017-18.

With AAP