The ATA strongly supports the proposed design principle of Round 5A of the Mobile Black Spots Program to include major regional and remote transport corridors as priority areas for improved mobile phone coverage.
Fixing mobile black spots on transport routes is critical from an emergency and safety perspective and will be a requirement before vehicles with higher levels of automation and other technological progress can be fully embraced on Australian roads.
The ATA supports considerations around new coverage outcomes and value for money to be part of the assessment criteria.
Value for money is important – the ATA supports maximising the impact of increased connectivity on transport corridors. The ATA would support consideration of extension devices to amplify signal on the edges of connectivity and consideration of a grouping of proposed towers, to deliver connectivity on a particular transport corridor.
In the longer term, the Australian Government should include mobile phone and data connectivity in the proposed National Service Level Standards for roads, with funding for mobile phone and data blackspots to come from the existing MBSP.