The Federal Government is providing $10 million in upgrades to reinforce the resilience of mobile networks in regional areas.

Funding under Round 2 of the Mobile Network Hardening Program (MNHP) will mean Optus, Telstra and TPG Telecom will deliver 544 mobile network resilience upgrades across the country.

Minister for Regional Communications and Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience, Senator Bridget McKenzie, said the Federal Government will allocate $10.9 million to successful applicants to help keep communities safe during a natural disaster.

“This strong outcome from Stage 2 of the MNHP demonstrates our Government’s ongoing commitment to improving mobile network resilience and preparedness, so communities can better manage future emergencies and natural disasters,” Ms McKenzie said.

“Successful projects include the installation of permanent power generators, increased battery reserves, transmission resiliency upgrades to protect against network transmission outages and site hardening measures, such as protective ember screening to shield sites from potential impacts of embers, radiation or flames.

“Mobile phones are vital for people in regional and remote communities to access critical support both during and after natural disasters such as bushfires and floods.

“While these upgrades will provide a significant boost, it’s also important to remind people of the need to prepare for emergencies and natural disasters, which can occur at any time, from having a spare battery on hand to telling loved ones your whereabouts.”

The MNHP is part of the Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters (STAND) package, which is helping to prevent, mitigate and manage outages during bushfires and other natural disasters.

Under Stage 1 of the MNHP, Telstra, Optus and TPG Telecom were awarded funding to upgrade the auxiliary backup power supply at 467 sites funded under Rounds 1 and 2 of the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program (MBSP).

Funding under Stage 2 was awarded through a competitive grants process.

Further information on the MNHP and STAND, including a list of sites to receive upgrades, is available on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website at: www.infrastructure.gov.au/media-technology-communications/phone/communications-emergencies/strengthen-resilience.

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