Mid May Update

19 May 2017

Again, things seem to be slow at the moment across the board. Telstra added 13 new sites as well as upgraded a further 48 sites all of which were spread out across the country. Upgrades focused on 4G700 however some sites got 4G1800 with 4G700 getting enabled sometime in the near future. Telstra has announced as a result of rural roaming being put on hold a further 600 rural sites will be upgraded to 4G.  That would bring Telstra’s total 4G sites to just under 6000 sites, but assuming all of those sites will include 4G700 that would also bring their low band 4G tower count to around 4400 sites, still well behind what Optus has currently active. The whole thing just feels a little disingenuous to me, a slap in the face to anyone living in rural and remote communities.  What’s going to happen to the remaining 1600ish sites? Are they to reman 3G indefinitely, creating a mobile backwater?

Optus continues installing new sites at a rate of knots with 20 new sites, 13 of which were in QLD alone. Optus also upgraded 21 sites again mostly in QLD with a spattering of all 4G bands but mostly 4G700.

Vodafone is plodding along with 8 new sites and 22 upgrades with NSW featuring heavily. 4G2100 was the main focus but with a spattering of other bands also. I haven’t seen any 4G700 proposals from Vodafone yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing those.

NBN activated 10 new sites with 10 sites also receiving upgrades.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has decreased by 2 sites as Optus takes a bit of a breather. Optus is still ahead of Telstra however in 4G700 by 1093 sites.

North Barraba left without mobile service for two weeks

27 May 2017

Barraba residents have endured over a fortnight without mobile phone service in the northern end of town, before Telstra technicians finally fixed the problem on Thursday.

While neighbours Manilla have suffered a series of Telstra faults over the past 12 months, Barraba residents have had almost no complaints since a new tower went in over two years ago, until this “transmission issue” occurred on May 10.

Resident Peter Dwyer said that while he understood that infrastructure breaks down from time to time, what frustrated himself, and others, was Telstra’s response to the problem, or lack thereof.

“I noticed that it went out in the northern end of town on May 10 and thought that Telstra would fix it, so I gave them a few days before making contact on Twitter a week later, and then on their faults line,” Mr Dwyer said.

To continue reading the article: click here. (northerndailyleader.com.au)

Black spot blame game

27 May 2017

Former Labor candidate for the seat Parkes Kate Stewart has accused Mark Coulton and the Nationals of failing the electorate on mobile coverage.

Ms Stewart, who contested the 2016 election, said it wasn’t good enough that more than half of Parkes’ 393,413 square kilometres were classified as mobile black spots.

However Mr Coulton said the Coalition had worked to install more than 700 new towers under the mobile black spot program and was also working with telecommunications companies to update existing towers with the latest technology.

He said it was Labor who had failed to address the problem by not addressing black spots during their six years in power.

Ms Stewart said the Coalition were leaving thousands in the electorate without decent coverage.

“Mark and the Nationals keep talking about how terrible the situation is but he has been a Member of Parliament since 2007 and his party has been in government since 2013. What has he done?,” she said.

To continue reading the article: click here. (dailyliberal.com.au)

Grose Vale and St Albans promised mobile black spot fixes

27 May 2017

GROSE Vale and St Albans have been included in a list of areas marked as priorities for upgraded mobile coverage.

The federal government recently released its Mobile Black Spot Program – Government Priority List, which includes Grose Vale and St Albans.

Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman has suggested that while the two locations have been included on the list, an actual solution may not be delivered until sometime in 2019.

The Gazette has contacted Minister for Regional Communications Fiona Nash for clarification on this point, and will update this story when we receive a response.

Regardless of when the towers come, the news was welcomed by Macdonald Valley resident Ian Burns-Woods.

Mr Burns-Woods is on the Macdonald Valley Association and the publican of the Settlers Arms Inn, which he said has aggressively lobbied for a mobile tower to be built in the area for years.

To continue reading the article: click here. (hawkesburygazette.com.au)

Telstra Blocked Us Out Of Access To Blackspots: Vodafone

25 May 2017

Telstra’s mobile blackspot program specifications have been prohibitive and have blocked other telcos’ access to infrastructure, according to Vodafone.

Vodafone says that while it wanted to “collocate” (ie, piggy back) on more than 100 of Telstra’s base stations under-round one of the Federal Government’s mobile blackspot program, it was unable to do so, due to cost and technical barriers imposed by the incumbent – ie, Telstra.

In a submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Vodafone said that Telstra had raised barriers in terms of both costs and not providing sufficient space for potential collocated carriers.

To continue reading the article: click here. (channelnews.com.au)

17 mobile base stations still to come

25 May 2017

The Federal Government's Mobile Black Spot Program rolling in new mobile base stations across the region to significantly improve mobile coverage for the communities.

CASINO North, Ramornie, Yorklea, and Kyogle are the next four regions that are expected to see significantly improved mobile coverage thanks to the Federal Governments Mobile Black Spots Program.

Page MP Kevin Hogan said five of the 22 new mobile base stations in the Northern Rivers have already been built with 17 more to come.

"Five new base stations in our community are already active. With 17 to come online over the next 18 months, mobile phone coverage is going to improve significantly in our region,” Mr Hogan said.

"The areas have been selected because they have been overlooked by mobile network operators due to commercial factors.


To continue reading the article: click here. (northernstar.com.au)

Towering job in fixing black spots

25 May 2017

Regional Communications Minister and deputy Nationals leader Fiona Nash has detailed ongoing spending on the Mobile Phone Black Spots Program.

The Daily Liberal reported there had been a cut to the Mobile Phone Black Spots Program in the federal Budget for 2017/18.

But Senator Nash said no funding has been cut from the program.

“The program is already building 765 towers, delivering new or improved coverage to 32,000 homes and businesses across 68,000 square kilometres – with more towers to come,” Senator Nash said.

“This includes 183 new and improved towers in rural and regional NSW.

“There is $155.9 million in the current budget for the Coalition’s Mobile Phone Black Spots Program.”

She said the government wouldn’t fund future rounds of the program until the telecommunications companies had finished constructing the towers funded under rounds one, two and three.

To continue reading the article: click here. (dailyliberal.com.au)

The bush in need of better coverage

25 May 2017

The significant impacts of the federal Budget cut to mobile blackspot funding for the regions and the lack of priority for improving phone and data connectivity have been outlined by a communications lobby group.

Members of the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC) say the decision not to include funds for Round 4 of the Mobile Blackspot program will mean many consumers will not see improvements to coverage in the near future.

They say demand will “far outstrip” available funding and improved mobile coverage is vital for regional consumers.

Besides impacts on farmers and town-based businesses and consumers, there are many premises, vital community areas and high traffic areas at risk from having no mobile coverage.

They say rural, regional and remote areas should not be disadvantaged and want the government and telecommunications providers to build more towers.

Questioned on the issue last week, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said: "With any budget you've got to make ends meet. We're always going to bat for better outcomes but we've always got to do it in such a way that over the long-term we have our surplus.”

To continue reading the article: click here. (westernmagazine.com.au)

Parkwood residents call on City of Canning to knock down tower proposal

25 May 2017

PARKWOOD residents Nicole and Noel Harrison want City of Canning to reject a proposal to erect a mobile phone telecommunications tower on Hossack Reserve fearing health implications for locals if approved.

Earlier this month the City invited residents within a 300m radius of the reserve to make submissions on a Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) development application for a telecommunications facility on the reserve for use by Optus and VHA.

The Harrisons, who live on Hossack Avenue across the road from the reserve, are concerned about possible long-term health implications the tower may pose.

“All the research I could find indicates there are not enough studies to confirm there are no heath risks associated with mobile phone towers,” Mr Harrison said.

Mr Harrison said council’s Town Planning Scheme provided guidelines for council in assessing applications for telecommunication facilities that included “telecommunication facilities should not be located within 300m radius of sensitive uses such as schools, child day care centres, nursing homes, hospitals, children’s playgrounds and all existing/proposed residential areas.”

To continue reading the article: click here. (communitynews.com.au)

Network solution stasis in bush

25 May 2017

GRIEVANCES over shoddy mobile network coverage continue to grow in regional communities, but you would not know it judging by the public policy.

Despite widespread frustration among voters and industry, status quo solutions were again endorsed by the the federal government and the  Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

But even the government’s supporters acknowledge that new solutions are needed. The question is, where will the answers come from?

The recent federal budget allocated a fresh injection of $60m to fund round three of the Mobile Black Spot Program, in addition to the $160m already committed for rounds one and two.

The program has attracted $600m in public and private investment into 765 upgraded or new towers.

It is a timely initiative, seeding funds to attract private investment in the bush as Australia spruiks a burgeoning age of agriculture, and the Nationals pursue their decentralisation agenda.

To continue reading the article: click here. (queenslandcountrylife.com.au)

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