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Optus to fling A$25 million at Tasmania

New network mimics NBN backhaul link plans

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Telstra is finally going to lose its near-monopoly over mobile comms in Tasmania, with Optus announcing it will triple the number of base stations it operates in the island state.

The network upgrade, which Optus says will cost $25 million (including new retail stores), will cover 45 towns in all regions of Tasmania.

Interestingly, the project could also be seen as a low-key endorsement of the National Broadband Network.

Optus identified sixteen of the 45 towns to receive new services under the project: Irishtown, Stanley and Arthur River (north-west Tasmania), Bridport, Lilydale and Scottsale (in the north-east), Strahan, Queenstown and Zeehan (to the west), Adventure Bay, Alonnah and Dover (south), and the east coast towns St Marys, St Helens, Swansea and Coles Bay.

Twelve of these are on or near backhaul links that NBN Co has tagged for its network in Tasmania. It’s at least feasible that without the prospect of competitive backhaul to these locations, the project may not have proceeded.

The expanded coverage will leave only the sparsely-populated south-west of the state entirely without coverage on either the 900MHz or 2.1GHz band.

Optus says the upgrade will also bring increased capacity to existing mobile sites in Tasmania.

Günther Ottendorfer, managing director of Optus Networks, said “we will be the only mobile carrier capable of challenging the incumbent’s network reach in Tasmania.

“The extent of the investment and the ability to meet customer expectations has provided the Tasmanian Government with the confidence in choosing Optus for mobile and mobile data services.”

Optus claims the expanded network will reach 96 per cent of Tasmania’s population.

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