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A new mobile base station has been switched on in East Gippsland and is now undergoing final testing.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the new macro cell base station was located on the Princes Highway about halfway between Orbost and Cann River.

“This new base station is expected to provide 3G and 4G mobile phone coverage over an area of 50 square kilometres in and around Manorina and sections of the Princes Highway and Sydenham Inlet Road,” Mr Chester said.

“The new base station will provide better phone service for locals, visitors and travellers and will enable them to make calls, use the internet and stay connected with family and friends in what has been an unreliable mobile service area.

“Connectivity in all its forms, including mobile phone and internet coverage, is critical to the economic growth and prosperity of regional Victoria and the ability to stay connected will underpin job opportunities and the social fabric of our region for decades to come.

“Most importantly, improved mobile phone coverage can save lives in emergency situations like a traffic accident or bushfire.”

The Federal Government, Telstra and the Victorian Government have funded the new base station through round four of the $380 million Mobile Black Spot Program. It’s the 14th base station in Gippsland funded through the program.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher said the activation of the new mobile base station reflected the Federal Government’s commitment to further improving connectivity in the regions.

“While no telecommunications network is 100 per cent impervious to damage from natural disasters, Australians naturally want to be confident our communications networks are as resilient as possible,” Mr Fletcher said.

“The Mobile Black Spot Program is an important part of this as it provides an alternative communications option if another network goes down during an emergency situation.”

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