Monday, 26 April 2021 11:00

Telstra is building a better network and transforming connectivity on King Island


No, it's not an island full of Elvis Presley impersonators, but an island that's part of Tasmania, and it will benefit from an upgrade project that Telstra says will transform connectivity on the island, improve mobile coverage, boost capacity and data speeds and strengthen network resilience.

King Island. It's a beautiful island in the Bass Strait of Australia, and it's about to get even better with improved mobile coverage, more mobile base stations, some 4GX upgrades, 37km of new fibre optic cable, up to six times more bandwidth and capacity, a new radio link and more, with work to start before the end of 2021.

We're told the project is supported by a $9.8 million investment jointly co-funded by Telstra, King Island Council, the Tasmanian Government, and the Federal Government as part of the Regional Connectivity Program.

Telstra Regional GM Michael Patterson joined the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts; Gavin Pearce MP, Member for Braddon, Cr Julie Arnold, King Island Council Mayor and locals in Currie to announce the once-in-a-generation project.

Patterson said: “This multi-million-dollar transformative project will future-proof connectivity on King Island, help bridge the digital divide experienced on the island and, importantly, improve digital inclusion.

“This investment will boost Telstra’s mobile network and improve coverage through new infrastructure, new and upgraded mobile sites and better network resiliency.

“Brand new infrastructure will deliver up to six times more capacity onto the island, bringing faster speeds so King Islanders can stream HD video content, do business, take online education, video calls and download data, just as well as anyone else in Tasmania or anywhere else in the country.

“King Island’s newly upgraded mobile network will be more resilient than ever thanks to a brand-new high-capacity microwave radio link which will be built to connect Cape Wickham to Victoria’s Surf Coast.

“Stretching more than 110km across Bass Strait from King Island to Victoria, the new high-capacity link will be the longest radio link over water we’ve built anywhere on Telstra’s network,” continued Patterson.

The project includes:

  • Brand new mobile coverage with two new mobile sites built at Naracoopa and Yambacoona
  • Improved mobile coverage with two new small cell sites built at Currie and Grassy
  • 4GX upgrades at Lymwood, Loorana and Cape Wickham
  • 37km of new fibre optic cable laid on King Island as part of the infrastructure roll out
  • A new radio link, connecting Cape Wickham to Victoria over Bass Strait to provide greater resiliency
  • Up to six times more bandwidth and capacity onto the island, allowing for greater speeds and more capacity to do business, education and provide for HD services such as video calling.

Patterson added: “This is a great example of what can be achieved when Telstra partners with all levels of government to deliver valuable infrastructure to regional and remote communities across Australia.

“We are continuing to deliver for regional Australia through our own investments and also collaborative investments like the recently completed Flinders Island project, Mobile Black Spot Program and ongoing Telstra 5G roll out in regional areas," Patterson concluded.

Telstra says detailed planning work is being finalised ahead of work starting before the end of 2021.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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