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TSRA release new round of funding

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) and Telstra have finalised an $8.26 million agreement to commence works on the first stage of the Torres Strait network infrastructure upgrade project.

The project will cost $22.76 million in total, with the TSRA, Telstra and the Federal Government’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) the first-stage contributors.

The Queensland State Government announced a $2.135 million commitment on 13 March to the next stage of the project.

The infrastructure upgrade will deliver multiple benefits for people living in the Torres Strait region including massively improved mobile voice and data coverage for residents and communities and increased network bandwidth capacity for businesses and government and other agency service delivery providers.

The TSRA Chairperson, Mr Napau Pedro Stephen AM, said both the TSRA and Telstra had been working together for some time to make the landmark mobile network infrastructure upgrade a reality.

“Many people just don’t realise the effect slow or non-existent mobile and Internet services can have on a community,” Mr Stephen said.

“Access to fast and reliable internet and mobile phones can determine the educational outcome of a student, or even be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.

“Once fully funded this project will mean we have the same services most of the country already rely on to perform many of their daily tasks, along with the added benefit of enhanced bio-security, agriculture, and marine safety and border protection measures.”

In December last year Telstra provided the TSRA Board with a presentation that included three options for delivering the network expansion project in the Torres Strait.

The Board agreed to progress with the option that would provide the platform for 4G technology to a number of sites and deliver an increased network backhaul capacity for the region within the next 12 months.

Presently the network speed in communities that have the Telstra mobile service (Saibai, Badu, Moa-St Pauls, Iama, Masig and Mer) is limited to a 3G coverage.

The scope is to not only upgrade these to 4G, but also install 4G mobile services for the remaining communities of Boigu, Dauan, Mabuyag, Kubin, Warraber, Poruma, Erub and Ugar who do not have any mobile services.

The TSRA is currently looking for other co-contributors for the project in an effort to raise an extra $7.42 million, which will then trigger a second Telstra funding commitment of $7.08 million.

The TSRA, Telstra, and the Queensland State Government have engaged with the Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC) to assist them with preparing an infrastructure grant application for the Commonwealth Government Building Better Regions Fund as a means of raising the extra funds required to complete the project.

The Queensland State Government’s contribution forms part of the application put forward by TSIRC.

Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people are advised this website may contain names, images and recordings of people who have passed.