The work on the islands off Tasmania's north-east coast, has been funded with investment by the two governments, Telstra and the Flinders Council as part of the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF).
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.
“In Tasmania, in the last 12 months alone, Telstra has invested around $20 million to improve mobile network coverage and capacity for our customers,” Patterson said.
Tasmanian Minister for Science and Technology Michael Ferguson said the project involved transmission upgrades, new radio systems, new optical fibre and upgrades to several mobile sites.
“One of the key parts of this project included a new 80m radio tower 100 kilometres 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,” Minister Ferguson said.
Flinders Council Mayor Annie Revie said the project had boosted connectivity for locals on the islands and had provided “much improved mobile and internet services”.
“Locals are now streaming and downloading faster. Connection quality has been significantly boosted with mobile network upgrades and new mobile sites at Killiecrankie, Palana, Blue Rocks and on Cape Barren Island.
“These important upgrades also lay the groundwork for the network into the future, including scalable solutions for the local school, hospital, emergency services and the Flinders Council”, Mayor Revie said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack 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 islands 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,” Minister McCormack said.