After years of community activism and support from local and federal government bodies, Kybybolite has a mobile base station that will allow for phone and internet coverage.
Andrew Shepherd, the chair of the Kybybolite Action Group, welcomed the community members present at a launch on Friday, as well as special guests Tim Hand from Telstra, Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin, and Naracoorte Lucindale Mayor Erika Vickery.
Mr Hand, who was filling in for Regional General aid while construction was still happening on the tower, it was operational and had 3G. In the future it will have 4G, however it will already be able to make “a fair difference to life around this area”.
Mr Hand also said “full credit” should go to the community, and also the work that Mr Pasin and the Federal Government had done with the Mobile Blackspot Program.
Mr Pasin spoke next, and gave more information about how the Mobile Blackspot Program has assisted in getting Kyby its phone tower.
In Round Three of the Mobile Blackspot Program, it was decided that funding would go to “priority picks”. These areas would be locations that would be identified as not being able to attract private investment telecommunications on their own – they would need additional public funding. Mr Pasin and his office decided that they would put out an expression of interest.
“You have really been a community who have worked hard to get things done,” he said to the assembled members of the Kybybolite community. Kybybolite, and also Kalangadoo, had been the communities that had pushed for the mobile base stations in their areas.
Now that there was a mobile base station, it would make a significant impact on farming practices, continued Mr Pasin.
“And now there’s no excuse for the blokes down at the Kyby Football Club to not get home on time when their wives are texting them,” he joked to a round of laughs.
Since 2013, $220 million has been invested in mobile phone base stations by the Coalition Government, with 850 funded in partnership with major carriers. Mr Pasin acknowledged Telstra coming on board with the Kyby station.
Mrs Vickery was the last to speak, and pointed out that the mobile phone station wasn’t just beneficial for professional purposes, but also for social contact, and the safety of the community.
“It was fantastic to come out here and see four bars on my phone!” she said.
In a statement from Mr Pasin’s office, there’s plans for more Mobile Blackspot Program Funding Rounds:
“The government recently announced a fourth round of the program and is currently calling for applications from the mobile industry to share in the $25 million Federal Government funding for round 4.
“Tony Pasin is also advocating within Government for further funding of the Mobile Blackspot Program past round 4.
“More information about the program and a full list of the locations across the country is available at: communications.gov.au/mbsp”
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