Vodafone leads digital campaign for more black spot funding

Regional communities urged to stand up for better coverage and choice

Vodafone is urging voters in regional seats to highlight the urgent need for more funding for mobile black spots with their local federal representatives and candidates via social media ahead of the July 2 election.

Vodafone Chief Strategy Officer Dan Lloyd said while mobile black spot funding to date was welcome, many people in regional Australia still lack reliable, competitive 21st century telecommunications services.

“It’s time for Australians in regional and rural areas to send a clear message to their local MPs and candidates that action needs to be taken to end the mobile class divide between cities and rural and regional Australia,” Mr Lloyd said.

“For far too long, small businesses, farmers and families in regional areas have been forced to put up with unreliable coverage, lack of choice of provider or both, while people in the major cities enjoy world-class mobile services and strong competition.

“With 10,000 known mobile black spots in regional Australia, the existing Mobile Black Spot Programme will only make a limited difference and needs to be expanded to bring services up to scratch.”

Mr Lloyd said the allocation of existing funding for telecommunications services should be changed through Universal Service Obligation (USO) reform, as well as an increase in overall funding.

“Australians are voting with their feet by choosing mobile over landlines. The $300 million provided to Telstra every year through the USO to maintain an outdated copper network and pay phones in regional areas can be much better spent,” Mr Lloyd said.

“If some USO funds were diverted to a permanent Mobile Black Spot Programme, more Australians in rural and regional Australia could benefit from increased coverage and choice.

“With the Federal Election quickly approaching, now is the time for regional communities to send a clear message that they deserve a better deal on mobile telecommunications.”