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Remote Tasmanian islands boosted by better connectivity from Telstra

Remote Tasmanian islands boosted by better connectivity from Telstra

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Residents and visitors to Flinders and Cape Barren Islands are now benefiting from the latest communications technology from Telstra which is delivering better coverage and faster data speeds.

Work has been completed on an AU$11 million upgrade, funded as part of the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF), with investment from the Australian Government, Tasmanian Government, Flinders Council and Telstra.

Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, said the project has delivered vital infrastructure and upgrades to better connect some of Tasmania’s most remote communities.

“Now that the roll out of this vital infrastructure has been completed across Flinders and Cape Barren Islands, residents, tourists and businesses on the island can do the things that others might take for granted.

“Locals and visitors are now able to stream HD video content, download data, do business online and video call to and from Flinders and Cape Barren Islands at comparable speeds to the rest of Tasmania.”

Tasmanian Minister for Science and Technology Michael Ferguson said the project involved transmission upgrades, new radio systems, new optical fiber and upgrades to several mobile sites.

He said: “One of the key parts of this project included a new 80m radio tower 100 kilometers north-east of Launceston at Waterhouse, which creates the longest radio link across water anywhere on Telstra’s network and connects Flinders and Cape Barren Islands with Tasmania and to Australia and the world.

“The $1.5 million tower at Waterhouse is Tasmania’s third largest structure – and required more than 39 tonnes of steel, 3,000 bolts and a 300-tonne crane to build.”

Federal Member for Bass, Bridget Archer MP, said the BBRF funding towards the upgrade ensures remote communities like Flinders and Cape Barren Islands have access to essential communication technology. 

“There are health care professionals, farmers, small business owners and tourism operators who will benefit greatly from the boosted connectivity and improved mobile and Internet services delivered by the significant telecommunications upgrade,” said Mrs Archer.

Telstra Regional General Manager Michael Patterson said the upgrade was proof Telstra continues to deliver for regional and remote Australia.

“This vital project demonstrates Telstra’s continued commitment to connecting Tasmanians – whether it’s our own investment, collaborative opportunities like this Flinders and Cape Barren Islands project or the Mobile Black Spot Program,” he said.

“In Tasmania, in the last 12 months alone, Telstra has invested around AU$20 million to improve mobile network coverage and capacity for our customers.”

Most of the Flinders and Cape Barren Islands telecommunications upgrade was completed in late 2019 bringing better coverage and faster data speeds to more than 900 residents and visitors.

The final part of the project, a new 4GX mobile base station on Cape Barren Island/Truwana, was completed in April 2020, bringing dedicated mobile coverage to the island and its small community for the first time. 

Telstra has more than 300 mobile sites across Tasmania, delivering mobile coverage to 98.7% of the state’s population.

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