Mobile Coverage Project
The Mobile Coverage Project aims to significantly improve mobile coverage in regional NSW where people live, work and play through transformative investment in mobile phone infrastructure and emerging technologies.
Aim of the program
The Regional Digital Connectivity program has been allocated $300 million for the Mobile Coverage Project, which will be delivered across multiple stages.
Through transformative investment in mobile phone infrastructure and emerging technologies, the Mobile Coverage Project will increase competition, consumer choice, and deliver improved mobile coverage outcomes where people live and work in rural and regional NSW.
Stage 1 of the Mobile Coverage Project will invest $30 million to deliver active sharing mobile coverage solutions in partnership with the telecommunications industry.
About the Active Sharing Partnership
NSW is the first jurisdiction in Australia to work with industry to develop active sharing partnerships between the government and telecommunications sector to benefit rural and regional communities.
The objectives of the Active Sharing Partnership are to:
- establish fit-for-purpose commercial and delivery models for active sharing mobile solutions
- investigate the application of different technical and deployment scenarios for active sharing mobile solutions
- deliver new and improved mobile coverage to locations in regional NSW using active sharing mobile solutions
- reduce the network set-up and asset costs to individual telecommunications providers
- increase competition and consumer choice
- enable adoption of new technologies, such as 5G; and
- deliver an improved mobile phone service that can maintain coverage through the harsher elements of the Australian climate, like fire and floods.
The Active Sharing Partnership is being delivered in two phases:
Phase one (design) – completed:
A tender process sought submissions from telecommunications providers to participate in a 15-week collaborative process to design active sharing solutions for implementation in regional NSW.
Eight organisations were selected to participate in phase one of the Active Sharing Partnership, including: BAI Communications, Field Solutions Group, Infrastructure Logic, Optus, NEC, Pivotel Mobile, Telstra and TPG Telecom.
Phase one of the Active Sharing Partnership concluded in early August 2022.
Phase two (grant opportunity) – underway:
A targeted competitive grant program offering funding for the implementation and ongoing operation of active sharing mobile solutions in regional NSW.
Successful recipients from the grant opportunity are expected to be announced in early 2023.
Active Sharing Partnership timeline
Request for Proposal was released to the market seeking Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Mobile network infrastructure providers (MNIPs) to form a paid partnership with government to design active sharing solutions. The tender closed in February 2022.
For more information see: NSW Government tender encourages Telco partnerships to improve regional mobile coverage
Following the Request for Proposal, eight organisations were announced as the successful participants for Active Sharing Partnership program. They included: Optus, Telstra, TPG Telecom, BAI Communications, Field Solutions Group, Infrastructure Logic, NEC and Pivotel Mobile.
For more information see: Active Sharing Partnership set to transform regional mobile coverage
Over 15-weeks, the eight organisations in the Active Sharing Partnership collaborated to design new active sharing mobile solutions across four network categories, and their underpinning commercial arrangements.
The 15-week design trials tested commercial sharing arrangements to determine the most suitable rural and regional locations where active sharing solutions could be explored in the future, to provide new and improved coverage outcomes for communities.
The $30 million Active Sharing Partnership grant opportunity opened for applications on 28 September 2022. The grant opportunity proposed to provide funding for the construction of active sharing mobile solutions that would provide new or overlapping 4G and 5G mobile voice and data services to eligible regional NSW locations and would be ready for service by December 2025.
For more information see: Funding boost for regional mobile coverage
The $30 million Active Sharing Partnership grant opportunity closed on 14 November 2022. A range of applications were received and assessed by a panel. The applications sought to implement and operate active sharing mobile solutions in regional NSW.
The successful recipients from the grant opportunity are expected to be announced in from early 2023.
The first active sharing grant recipient was announced Friday 24 February 2023.
The far-west communities of Brewarrina and Wilcannia are set to benefit from improved mobile coverage thanks to a $5.5 million agreement between the NSW Government, OneWiFi and Pivotel.
The agreement will provide coverage to 1350 square kilometres, benefiting more than 800 premises in Brewarrina and Wilcannia, with two mobile towers offering new 4G and 5G voice and data services.
For more information see: Mobile boost for Brewarrina and Wilcannia
The NSW Government expects to announce further agreements from the $30 million grant opportunity in the coming months, once contract negotiations are finalised.
In the future, an additional $250 million for the Mobile Coverage Project (Stage 2) will be invested to expand upon the Active Sharing Partnership program, to bring better choice, mobile coverage and innovative solutions for small communities, key tourism locations and transport corridors in regional NSW.
For more information and updates about digital connectivity projects underway in regional NSW, contact us and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.
The Mobile Coverage Project is part of the Regional Digital Connectivity program and funded by the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund, under the management of the Department of Regional NSW.