Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said the co-investment fund would run over the next four years and was aimed at enhancing and extending mobile coverage through stimulating infrastructure co-investment with governments, local councils and businesses in areas that would otherwise be difficult to justify on economic grounds.
“We have seen great success from this type of approach in the past, with Telstra investing over $120 million in such projects over the last few years,” said Penn.
“Technology innovation never stands still, which is why looking over the horizon now is so important, particularly with the Prime Minister’s aspiration for Australia to be a world leading digital economy by 2030, and the National Farmers Federation’s aspiration to grow the agriculture sector of the economy to $100 billion in the same time frame.
“Technology is going to play a major role in meeting both of these aspirations – perhaps the most important role. Telecommunications technology is continuing to advance from 3G to 4G, 4G to 5G, from ADSL to NBN and from copper to fibre, satellite and mobile, and this is helping to bring new solutions to solve old problems.
“With these technologies and our investments we have increased capacity in our network year on year to cater to the around 40% per annum growth in our customer’s traffic demand, and we have been able to extend our coverage up to 100,000 square kilometres each year."
Penn said in addition to the newly announcement co-investment fund, Telstra would be investing a further $150 million over the next 12 months to improve its regional networks in a number of important areas.
“These include improving coverage at popular destination spots in regional areas, capacity upgrades, the upgrade of 3G only sites to 4G and building new 4G sites, technology development for long range sites and small cells with satellite backhaul,” Penn added.
Penn said the combined investments were built around Telstra’s commitment to being the telco of choice for regional Australia and, more often than not, the only telco.
“Last week when the Government announced the result of the Regional Connectivity Program funding, Telstra was the only major retail provider to win projects and commit funding to improve services,” Penn continued.
“In the Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program Telstra has put up three times more capital than the rest of the industry put together, and we are building more than 75% of all of the mobile black spot towers in the program,” he concluded.