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Villages need better mobile phone coverage to improve safety: Grant

04 Mar 2018

Better mobile phone coverage is needed in villages such as Eumungerie to better equip farmers and emergency services, says Dubbo Regional councillor David Grant.

Dubbo Regional Council, through mayor Ben Shields, has joined the push for the village to get better mobile service coverage.

The federal government $220 million Black Spot Program will result in almost 500 new or improved mobile phone towers rolled out across the country during Round 1. A new mobile phone tower will be operational in Mumbil before July 2018, but Cr Shields said it was not enough.

“Having mobile phone coverage these days is as important as having a lot of other services like having roads sealed to the village or even electricity in a lot of ways these days. A lot of the time it is the primary means of communication,” Cr Shields said.

“If someone was to turn up at Eumungerie, at Mumbil, at Ballimore and there’s no appropriate mobile phone tower, no appropriate mobile phone connection, they’re not going to move their or help that village develop further.”

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Telstra reveals $18M Mackay, CQ mobile network upgrade

02 Mar 2018

TELSTRA has announced $18 million will be spent on 65 projects to upgrade mobile networks in Central Queensland.

Mackay along with Newlands, Tannum Sands, Miriam Vale and Stanage Bay will recieve 27 new projects to upgrade mobile networks.

The projects include capacity and speed upgrades to existing base stations, new small cells for 4G coverage, as well as Telstra's contribution to the Mobile Black Spot Program.

Telstra Area General Manager Rachel Cliffe said the upgrades and coverage expansion would benefit regional centres as well as remote Central Queensland communities.

"We know mobile coverage is a key priority for people and businesses in regional and rural areas," Ms Cliffe said.

"This investment includes 27 new projects to upgrade our mobile network in locations such as Mackay, Newlands, Tannum Sands, Miriam Vale and Stanage Bay, and the installation of Small Cell technology in 21 new locations including Capella, Comet and Nebo."

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End of February Update

02 Mar 2018

Telstra managed 19 new sites as well as upgrades to a further 60 sites. New sites were mostly metro sites, while upgrades were mostly on the East Coast and quite a few were located in metro Melbourne and consisted of both 4G700 and 4G2600 bands.  Melbourne CBD got a huge upgrade with many towers getting 4G2600. Slowness around Melbourne CBD has been reported of late so perhaps this upgrade didn’t go to plan or perhaps its still in a testing phase.

Optus added 15 new sites and upgraded a further 35.  New sites were located across all states except NT and ACT with rural areas getting the majority. Upgrades were mostly in the eastern states with 4G1800 in rural areas and 4G2100 in metro areas being the main focus. No further 5G sites have been proposed for Optus yet.

Vodafone appears now to be with fully focused with their nb-iot deployment with only 2 new sites, but managed 44 site upgrades. Vodafone will be switching off their 2G network in the coming months (although the date seems to be moving all over the place), their nb-iot network is what will replace their 2G network and may well ramp up after the switch off.

TPG, a bunch more tower proposals showed up this fortnight which were back dated. Mostly around CBD Melbourne and Sydney suburbs. TPG now has 60 proposed towers.

NBN also added 9 new sites mostly surrounding metro Melbourne, 7 site upgrades, and 2 new site proposals were also reported.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has decreased by 14 sites. Optus is still ahead of Telstra in 4G700 by 887 sites.

Govt puts off major reform of mobile tower rules

02 Mar 2018

Plans to consult further.

The government has deferred its decision on the most controversial changes to mobile antenna and tower deployment rules it proposed last year.

Communications minister Mitch Fifield today said only 10 out of 21 planned reforms would be implemented, with the rest set for a further period of consultation.

Among the proposals that have been delayed are one that would have allowed larger-diameter radiocommunications and satellite dishes in rural and industrial areas, and for antennas to protrude an extra 2m above the buildings they are installed on.

Also delayed are proposals:

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Barry is no longer in a black hole

01 Mar 2018

The anticipation of being messaged that you’re in a 4G data only area as you pass through Barry is now a thing of the past.

Residents, nearby farmers and tourists passing through the village now have access to mobile phone service following Telstra flicking on the switch on a new mobile base station this week.

Funded under the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program, Mike Marom, the Telstra Area General Manager, said that the base station will deliver Telstra’s 3G and state of the art 4GX mobile data services to the area for the first time.

“This is a significant moment for residents of Barry and surrounds, that join more than 300 locations across Australia that is now benefitting from more mobile coverage through Telstra’s delivery of the Mobile Black Spot Program,” Mr Marom said.

Blayney mayor Scott Ferguson said that the lack of mobile service in Barry had always been of concern to council, especially when it comes to the safety of farmers in the region, and for the attraction and amenity of tourists.

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Mike Kelly announces new mobile tower for Tathra, condemns Telstra response to Tanja outage

01 Mar 2018

Federal Member for Eden Monaro Mike Kelly has confirmed Tathra has been approved for a new mobile communication tower under round three of the federal government’s mobile black spot program.

Round three of the program will provide $60million for new towers to be constructed in areas with poor mobile coverage across Australia. 

“I have been working closely with the community and Telstra for many years to have a new tower built in Tathra, as I know the economic limitations poor mobile phone coverage has on the local businesses,” Dr Kelly said. 

Although the tender for the tower has not yet taken place, Dr Kelly said it should be completed in 2019.

The announcement comes amid discussions about a six day communication blackout in neighbouring Tanja that affected 66 residences.   

The blackout was due to a damaged Telstra cable, cutting landline and internet to the area.

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Vodafone backs NBN to beat mobile in the home

27 Feb 2018

Less interested than rivals in talking up 5G.

Vodafone Australia is backing the NBN to largely prevail in the residential broadband market with limited substitution by fixed wireless or forthcoming 5G services.

Speaking at the company’s full year results briefing, CEO Iñaki Berroeta was guarded in his predictions for 5G technology, which rivals Telstra and Optus have talked up this month.

Both rivals have said they expect to have some form of 5G service live in 2019 - Optus for fixed wireless broadband and Telstra for unknown purposes.

But Berroeta warned that any carrier would be stretching to make a major impact on 5G before 2020.

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Aussie law enforcement warns telcos of 5G, IPv6 data access 'burden'

27 Feb 2018

Lays out case for legislative overhaul.

Australia's law enforcement agencies say 5G and IPv6 technologies will make it significantly more difficult to access communications and warn this could result in an "exponential burden" for telcos and government.

The technologies present a big challenge to the traditional way law enforcement accesses communications in investigations and may require a reworking of existing legislation, they say.

The comments were made in submissions to a parliamentary inquiry into the impact of new and energing technologies by the Department of Home Affairs, Attorney-General's Department, the Australian Border Force, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), and Australian Institute of Criminology.

They called out 5G, IPv6, mesh networks, and offshore storage of data as specifically problematic to their future ability to access user communications for lawful investigations.

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Telstra moves forward to eventual 4G, 5G integration

27 Feb 2018

Telstra says work is continuing in preparation for the 4G and 5G mobile technologies to integrate in future, including working with Ericsson, Qualcomm and Intel to develop the end-to-end 5G ecosystem.

“5G will not operate as a standalone technology, at least not for most early use cases.  So the quality of the underlying 4G service and how this integrates with 5G will determine the overall mobile experience.  This will enable the rapid deployment of new 5G speeds enabled by the underlying strength of the existing network,” says Telstra’s chief operating officer Robyn Denholm.

Denholm outlined the telco’s roadmap to evolve its wireless network and offer 5G mobile services at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, saying that the rollout of 5G was underpinned by around $5 billion in mobile network investment over the three years to 30 June 2019.

She said the rollout was consistent with previous guidance, to enhance the capacity, capability and reach of Telstra’s network.  

“5G will help deliver the next industrial revolution, unlocking opportunities across industries and markets and we want to ensure Australians are among the first in the world to gain access to it.

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Major Telstra mobile upgrade a win for Winton

27 Feb 2018

LIFE in Winton will soon get a whole lot faster.

Telstra is currently undertaking a major upgrade of mobile services in the region in time for the upcoming Way Out West Festival on April 19-22.

Telstra area general manager Darren Clark said work was underway to significantly and permanently increase capacity to the iconic outback town’s mobile infrastructure.

“Our customers in Winton and across the nation are relying on mobile connectivity more than ever,” Mr Clark said.

“The explosion in applications, shift towards mobile video consumption and use of mobiles in business and agriculture means demand for connectivity continues to grow strongly.

“The upgrades we’re undertaking will effectively triple the mobile capacity in Winton, giving locals and visitors improved and more consistent data speeds.”

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