What's being done to keep South Coast connected after bushfires

Since the summer's bushfires, communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the government has worked "quickly" to make telecommunications networks more resilient.

Mr Fletcher was speaking to Australian Community Media after Eden-Monaro Liberal and Labor candidates called for better telecommunications.

The South Coast's bushfires devastated Telstra's infrastructure, damaging 12 mobile towers and destroying five.

A Telstra mobile base near Batemans Bay damaged after the bushfires. Picture: Supplied.

A Telstra mobile base near Batemans Bay damaged after the bushfires. Picture: Supplied.

More than 40 mobile base stations were off the air, mostly due to power outages, leaving the coast disconnected for days on end.

Some communities such as Malua Bay still have poor coverage and some coastal landlines have not been reconnected.

Mr Fletcher said the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements was hearing telecommunication matters and the government was responding.

Mr Fletcher said 16 mobile phone base stations in the electorate were expected to receive funding to improve their back up power, "so they can continue operating for longer if mains power is lost".

"The Morrison Government has moved quickly on a new program to make our telecommunications networks more resilient in the face of bushfires," Mr Fletcher said.

He said the government had spent $252 million on the Mobile Black Spot Program which has committed to upgrade 1,229 base stations throughout regional and remote Australia. So far, 827 have been completed.

"This spending has leveraged a total investment of more than $836 million including co-contributions from local, state and territory governments, mobile network operators and community organisations," he said.

"In Eden-Monaro, 34 new mobile base stations have been funded under the Mobile Black Spot Program and 21 are complete. Base stations at Brindabella, Yarrangobilly Cave, and Rosewood have been announced.

"We committed to spend $160 million on further rounds of the program; $44 million has been committed, with $116 million remaining to be spent."

This story What's being done to keep South Coast connected after bushfires first appeared on Narooma News.

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