Four remote communities in the east and southern parts of Indi will be the next to finally get mobile phone coverage, as part of round four of the mobile blackspot program.
The base stations, valued at $350,000 to $400,000 each, will be located at Berringama, Freeburgh/Smoko, Mount Alfred and the Midland Highway at Lima South.
Regional Services Minister Bridget McKenzie made the announcement on Tuesday at Tangambalanga, a town that had its own phone tower switched on last year.
She said construction was due to start at the end of the year and the towers would be operational by mid-2020.
"This is an electorate that's challenged by its topography and so the base station program has really made an impact," she said.
"Those of us from Victoria remember the tragedy of Black Saturday and the need to inform our communities to be safe - we didn't have the level of connectivity to do that."
The towers will be jointly funded by the federal and Victorian governments and telecommunications companies, with the exact locations still to be decided.
Senator McKenzie said another round of funding for blackspots was a matter for the treasurer, but the program was important to ensure rural communities were connected to help with business, tourism and safety.
"It is about equity, it is also about understanding that this nation was built on the back of regional Australia," she said.
"If we want to see greater investment and more base stations, which I absolutely do and I think our communities do, then we need to make sure the telcos are actually putting in to partner with us to deliver on that promise.
"There is more to be done always and we look forward to being able to do that at the next election."
Nationals candidate Mark Byatt, who was in Tangambalanga for the announcement, said the phone towers were important for digital connectivity, "not only to the community, but also in those disaster situations where you have emergencies".
Indi MP McGowan said the announcement vindicated the work of the Indi Telecommunications Action Group.
"Our economic growth, including in the tourism area and our sustainability as business and cultural communities, depends on being able to stay in touch," she said.
But she said to ensure everyone in rural and regional areas has the same level of connectivity as in cities, the government needed a plan based on needs of communities to replace the current system.
"I'm very critical of the approach the government has to competitive tendering, pitting communities against communities," Ms McGowan said.
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