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Optus has successfully secured funding to build 83 new mobile sites as part of Round 5 of the Federal Governments Mobile Black Spot Program.

The new funding will deliver much needed mobile coverage and connectivity to regional communities.

The 83 sites are located across New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory and will cost $56.1 million to build, including $25.4 million in Federal funding, $5.3 million in State funding and a co-contribution of $22.2 million from Optus.

Andrew Sheridan, Optus Vice President Regulatory and Public Affairs said, “We are incredibly pleased to be able to bring expanded coverage to remote locations through this round of Mobile Black Spot funding, where Optus has been awarded a diverse range of sites.

“In the four years Optus has taken part in the Program, we have delivered more than 95 sites benefiting more than 17,000 properties in regional and rural parts of Australia, unlocking access to mobile voice, text and data services.”

According to Mr Sheridan, the sites have carried over 10 million calls and over 1.3 million individual users have taken advantage of this new coverage in some of the most remote parts of Australia, including Innamincka in South Australia and Kalumburu in Western Australia.

“Our priority at Optus is always to deliver the best service, value and choice to our customers and the Mobile Black Spot Program has played an important role in helping to facilitate this in often very remote parts of the country.”

“We acknowledge the important contribution of the Federal and State Governments in funding this additional network infrastructure and coverage,” Mr Sheridan added.

The 83 sites secured by Optus will improve coverage in regions and locations including Rubyvale in Queensland, popular National Parks within the Northern Territory, Peebinga in South Australia, the Wheat Belt in Western Australia and the Illawarra train line in New South Wales.

“These are all areas in need of improved mobile coverage, especially at this crucial time when many families are in isolation and need to stay connected for education, business and personal reasons. We have worked closely with State and Territory Governments as well as some communities in selecting these sites. For us, this is about more than mobile coverage. It’s about giving Australians in rural areas the dedicated coverage that they need, to stay connected with their family and friends, and to deliver for their business,” added Mr Sheridan.

Optus is currently rolling out over 170 Federal funded sites across Australia as part of the second round of the Program, Priority Round program and fourth round of the projects. Over 95 Optus co-funded Black Spot sites are already live, providing much needed coverage to communities in those areas.