Five new mobile hotspots have been installed in Central Australian remote Homelands, improving connectivity alongside the successful maintenance of 44 existing hotspots.  

Residents in Petyale, Ankweleyelengkwe, Welere, Urrermerne and Payeperrentye Homelands in Central Australia can now connect with relatives and friends from the comfort of their home. 

The Northern Territory Government has invested $300,000 to install and maintain mobile hotspots in remote Homelands across Central Australia. 

Works were undertaken by Alice Springs based Aboriginal technology organisation the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CfAT), who designed and developed this technology. 

CfAT also delivers technical training to local Aboriginal Territorians, providing work and training for ten local Aboriginal staff to install and maintain the mobile hotpots in this project. 

Mobile phone ‘hotspots’ focus and amplify the signal from a distant tower. A very marginal one bar signal becomes two or three bars. 

The Territory Government said that residents can now reliably make calls or download data to their phone or tablet thanks to the new mobile hotspots. 

Mobile phone hotspots are an innovative way to address the Territory’s connectivity challenges, and increase safety and connectivity for tourists, road users and remote Aboriginal homelands. 

The Northern Territory Government said that it recognises the benefits of connectivity for remote Territorians and has made it a priority to ensure there is better connectivity across the Territory.  

Northern Territory Minister for Corporate and Digital Development, Selena Uibo, said that connectivity is paramount for Territorians living in remote areas, for safety, social wellbeing and work. 

“This work delivers on our 2020 Election Commitment to install more CfAT mobile hotspots to extend mobile network coverage for remote communities,” Ms Uibo said.  

“The work of the CfAT is impressive in offering innovative low tech hotspot solutions to improve connectivity in remote locations. 

“Our government will always back Territory businesses – that is why our government invests in businesses that employ local Aboriginal Territorians on Country.” 

Member for Gwoja, Chansey Paech, said that the CfAT undertakes important work, building the skilled workforce on Country and improving connectivity in remote locations. 

“Having connectivity is life-changing for our mob, and something no one should go without, especially in remote locations,” Mr Paech said.  

“On top of the social benefits, connectivity is incredibly important for people to apply for work, be informed about health warnings and call for help when travelling between Homelands and communities.” 

Centre for Appropriate Technology CEO, Peter Renehan, said that CfAT is extremely proud that its Aboriginal Technology workforce team was able to successfully undertake the site assessment surveys and construct, plus carry out the installation of five new Mobile Telephone Hotspots in Central Australian Homelands. 

“On the back of initiatives like this, CfAT is aiming to increase the number of Aboriginal people it employs in its Aboriginal Technology Workforce Team as we continue to expand the range of technology services we provide in Central Australia,” Mr Renehan said.  

“We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Northern Territory Government to undertake maintenance on Mobile Telephone Hotspots in 2024. We strongly believe that reliable and maintainable digital connectivity will significantly improve the livelihoods of Aboriginal people choosing to return and live on their country.” 

Image: ingehogenbijl/shutterstock 

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