Infrastructure upgrades to 141 mobile network sites across the State will improve mobile phone services for local communities during emergencies.

The infrastructure upgrades will be funded as part of the second round of the Commonwealth Mobile Network Hardening Program, worth $10.9 million.  Of the sites selected around Australia, a quarter are in WA.  
WA Local Government Association President Cr Karen Chappel welcomed the funding, saying it will be of particular value in improving the ability of telecommunications services to continue during and following natural disasters such as bushfires, floods and cyclones.  
“Local Governments have been advocating for improved telecommunications infrastructure for many years, as this forms a critical role in preparing for, and responding to, emergencies,” Cr Chappel said.
“Both mobile and nbn services are reliant upon ongoing power supply, which is often interrupted during emergency events.
“Better protection against the impacts of power outages to maintain mobile services before, during and after emergencies is critical for local communities.  
“Because Local Governments play such an important role in emergency management, it will also help Councils to disseminate important information to their communities to help keep them safe and provide crucial support and services.”  
Cr Chappel said WALGA, in discussion with its Members, State Government agencies, telecommunications carriers and power companies, helped to identify relevant criteria for consideration in assessing potential sites for investment, including hazard identification, population distribution and risk profile of local areas.

The Program forms part of the Commonwealth Government’s Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters initiative, with projects completed through a co-funding arrangement between the Commonwealth, telecommunications providers and the State Government.  They include provision of power generators, increased battery reserves, transmission resilience improvements and protective measures against impacts of bushfires. 
“Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility, and this is reflected by the collaborative process followed to identify sites, and the joint funding  between government and industry,” Cr Chappel said.
“We recognise there is still more to be done to improve mobile network resilience across the State, with these 141 sites representing less than 15 per cent of the network across WA.
“This is, however, a great start and we look forward to building on this collaborative approach in the future.”
To view a list of sites included in the Program, go to the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website: