Telstra paid $39.2m to revamp WA comms

Telstra has won a tender it was gunning for to expand the mobile phone coverage in Western Australia.
Written by Suzanne Tindal, Contributor

Telstra has won a tender it was gunning for to expand the mobile phone coverage in Western Australia.

Early last year, Western Australia released a $39.2 million tender under its Royalties for Regions program looking for a vendor to upgrade the state's mobile telecommunications coverage. Telstra put in an application for the job and has now been awarded with the contract, which will see it build 113 new mobile sites to increase coverage to regional and remote areas. The new sites will increase Telstra's coverage of the state's area by 22 per cent, from 430,000km2 to more than 525,000km2.

This will see over 8300km of Western Australian's highways gain near-continuous car-kit coverage, as well as improved voice and data services for areas of existing coverage. The service may be used for health and education service delivery to indigenous communities, Telstra said.

The first sites are already under construction. The project is expected to be completed within three years.

Telstra said that for the government's $39.2 million investment it would provide $106 million worth of capital expenditure and access rights to its infrastructure.

In a submission to the Regional Telecommunications Review, Telstra recently urged the Federal Government to foster funds or subsidies in projects such as this one, so it could roll-out infrastructure to areas that weren't commercially viable.

"In these instances, Telstra works with the local communities that have expressed a desire for additional infrastructure to determine what partnerships can be established to provide financial assistance. Telstra encourages these partnerships where it is beneficial to all parties," the telco said.

Telstra has not been the only telecommunications company to benefit from the state's royalty for regions program, with Motorola winning a $40 million contract at the end of last year to upgrade and integrate various emergency-services networks in Western Australia.

The Community Safety Network project will allow the Western Australia Police, the Department of Corrective Services, and the Fire and Emergency Services Authority to communicate on a single, secure network.

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