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More connectivity for remote Central Australia with new mobile hotspots

Dechlan Brennan -

The Northern Territory government has announced five more Aboriginal homelands in central Australia will be able to make reliable calls and download data thanks to new mobile hotspots.

The new hotspots in Petyale, Ankweleyelengkwe, Welere, Urrermerne and Payeperrentye take the number of mobile phone hotspots in very remote sites throughout the NT up to 53.

The Central Land Council told National Indigenous Times they welcomed the investment which further enables connectivity with Indigenous "homelands and communities".

"However, there is still a lot more work to be done to bring our communities into the 21st century," the Council said.

NT Minister for corporate and digital development Selena Uibo said the vast remoteness of the NT "makes the mobile phone connectivity extremely important for remote communities and it makes our investment in this program extremely important".

"Providing this technology will lead to better education and livelihoods for those communities," she said.

The NT government has a partnership with the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CfAT) which will provide an additional $300,000 program to deliver hotspots to residents and tourists.

CfAT said they have trained Indigenous locals to install the hotspot technology, which amplifies and focusses the signal from a distant tower. GPS is used to identify sites, as well as test the signal to find the ideal position, before the stands and antenna are assembled.

CfAT chief executive Peter Renehan said the they were proud of the Aboriginal Technology team, who undertook all five of the new hotspots.

"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," he said.

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