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Federal Government urged to use Rural Fire Service towers for fixing 'unsafe' mobile black spots

24 Feb 2016
InTheNews

The Federal Government is being urged to consider using Rural Fire Service (RFS) communication towers to improve mobile telephone coverage for residents on the New South Wales southern tablelands.

The Upper Lachlan Shire said a lack of phone and internet coverage was hampering businesses and risking the safety of residents in the shire's north.

The council has suggested the existing Rural Fire Service towers could be used to provide critical improvements for the Bigga, Reids Flat and Rugby districts.

Upper Lachlan Shire Mayor John Shaw said the Government could substantially cut the cost of addressing mobile black spots by using existing infrastructure.

"I know a lot of people out there who complain about it dropping out or not having any service at all," Cr Shaw said.

"We've got a number of these [towers] around the shire, so our suggestion is to use those towers that are already in existence.

"Obviously they've got road access, they've got power, everything will be there so it's really a no-brainer we believe."

Federal Member for Hume Angus Taylor has backed the proposal and said those districts were his number one black spot priority in the wider region.

 

To continue reading the article: click here. (abc.net.au)

ACMA changes tack on approach to broadband planning

24 Feb 2016
AcmaNews

The Australian Communications and Media Authority – the country’s spectrum regulator - has signalled a shift towards what it says is a “greater reliance on a contingency planning model” in its strategy for addressing the growth in mobile broadband capacity.

Outlining its strategy in a report released on Wednesday, the ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said the change in approach is intended for the ACMA to be more “flexible and responsive” to the rapidly-changing spectrum environment.

“The strategy signals a shift towards greater reliance on a contingency planning model, where the regulator plans for a range of potential outcomes in terms of mobile broadband capacity growth, but still seeks to enable the right spectrum to be made available—at the right time—depending on the scenarios that are unfolding.

“The key to such a contingency planning approach is the ability of the regulator to work with industry and the international community on a range of potential candidate bands at the same time, often over the very extended periods that are required for the development of new, harmonised spectrum uses and subsequent changes in the highest value use of those bands domestically.”

 

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

Telstra to deliver 1 Gbps mobile speeds this year

23 Feb 2016
TelstraNews

Plans to trial 5G at 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Telstra is upgrading its mobile network to support the LTE category 16 standard and offer a boost in peak speeds on its 4GX network to 1 Gbps in the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane CBDs later this year.

The upgrade will coincide with the launch of the first hotspot capable of accessing the higher speeds, a 1 Gbps Netgear mobile broadband device.

The network upgrade will mean theoretical peak download speeds of 1000Mbps and peak upload speeds of 150Mbps.

The carrier began trials of the 1 Gbps capabilities last December in partnership with its network equipment vendor Ericsson.

“Our technology roadmaps will expand to introduce new features such as 4X4 MIMO that will further increase capacity and performance in densely populated areas to provide a superior mobile experience for our customers,” Telstra group managing director for Networks Mike Wright said.

 

 

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

Vodafone set to complete 4G rollout

23 Feb 2016
VodafoneNews

Vodafone Hutchison Australia will next month complete its rollout of 4G across its network, the telco’s CEO said today.

Data usage grew explosively on the telco’s network in 2015, CEO Iñaki Berroeta said. On the back of increased customer numbers and investment in its network, data usage grew 84 per cent year-on-year.

The telco made a number of significant network announcements last year, including a dark fibre deal with TPG and the a refresh of its core network in collaboration with Ericsson.

The telco has moved customers to the Ericsson-designed network and in December began migrating customers to Voice over LTE (VoLTE).

“All in all we continued to base the trajectory of this company and we continue to base the growth of this company on a very strong network program,” Berroeta.

The CEO also noted that in 2015 Vodafone participated in the government’s mobile blackspot program. Funding from that program will help build 70 Vodafone base stations.

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

Mid February Update

21 Feb 2016
OzTowersMonthly

This fortnight was a bit of a mixed bag with Telstra upgrading 99 sites and adding 5 new sites. Telstra continues their aggressive 700Mhz roll-out nation wide, 1800Mhz continues to be rolled out by Telstra also.

Optus came in second this period with 92 sites upgraded and 5 new sites also. 700Mhz was also Optus' focus however 2300 and 2600 was also deployed where appropriate. The interesting thing was the proposals for 23 sites in rural QLD along major highways A55, A2, A71 and A4. Looking at their existing coverage these proposals fill may gaps along those routes. This is the first indication I have seen that Optus is serious about fixing their "depth" issue in rural and remote Australia. With Optus missing out of black-spot funding this appear to be their response to that situation perhaps sending a message that they can do it without government funding.

Vodafone passes the 5000 active towers nation wide for the first time, quite a milestone but still some ways behind telstra. Although surprisingly they are only 800 towers behind Optus, while optus has a more even spread between rural and metro, Vodafone puts the bulk of their towers in metro locations. This fortnight Vodafone only upgraded 41 sites and activated 7 new sites. NSW featured heavily as they finalized their rural 4G 850Mhz roll out. WA got some activity in Metro areas getting 4G 850 upgrades. Its hard to say which state will be next with a rural 4G upgrade, perhaps its WA? although my guess would be Victoria.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has increased by 3 as Optus picked up the pace this month. Optus is now only ahead of Telstra in 4G 700Mhz by 1083 sites.

Mobile downloads hit 1.41Gbps in Optus LTE-A Pro trial

19 Feb 2016
OptusNews

Optus and Huawei have managed to achieve mobile download speeds 1.41 gigabits per second during a trial of LTE-Advanced Pro earlier this week.

Optus today announced the results of the trial, which employed so-called 4.5G technology.

The trial employed 100MHz of aggregated spectrum (5x20MHz).

“We continue to utilise our network and spectrum assets to test our network of the future and prepare for 5G,” said Dennis Wong, Optus Networks’ acting managing director.

“By 2020, 5G will be here and we are committed to identify ways to prepare our network to support this new technology and further improve customer experience.”

The trial took place at Optus’ Newcastle ‘Gigasite’ under live network conditions.

 

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

Fifield urged to extend mobile blackspots program

13 Feb 2016
InTheNews

Farmer's death might have been avoided.

Western Australia’s devastating bush fires are bringing the federal communications department and other government authorities under pressure to expand efforts to eliminate mobile service blackspots.

WA Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds told iTnews mobile coverage in high-risk bushfire areas remained inadequate, and urged the WA and federal governments to work with local councils, communities and carriers to address the problem.

Reynolds, who chairs the environment and communications legislation committee, said that would include directly requesting that federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield to extend the government’s $160 million mobile blackspots program to “at least a third round”.

The program is currently limited to two rounds and is designed to encourage carriers to provide mobile service infrastructure in regional areas that would not otherwise be commercially viable.

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

1800 MHz band auction strong result reveals high demand for regional spectrum

05 Feb 2016
AcmaNews

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has announced the outcome of the 1800 MHz band spectrum auction, which concluded yesterday (4 February 2016).

Optus, Telstra, TPG and Vodafone all secured spectrum in the auction, resulting in total revenues (including withdrawal penalties) of approximately $543.5 million.

Totals for each successful bidder are as follows:

Optus Mobile   $196 million
Telstra             $191 million
TPG Internet   $88 million
Vodafone        $68 million


A table detailing who secured which spectrum lots where is available here.

The auction, which commenced on 30 November last year, ran over 179 rounds, enabling bidders to identify and place bids on spectrum within the band in those geographical areas they valued most. A table detailing the highest final bid for each lot and the successful bidder is available here.

To continue reading the article: click here. (acma.gov.au)

Optus, Telstra, TPG and Vodafone spaff AU$543.5m on spectrum

05 Feb 2016
InTheNews

Australia has scored AU$543.5m (US$391m) for part of its 1800 MHz spectrum.

The The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced the outcome of auctions it initiated in November 2015, with the following results.

Optus Mobile   $196 million
Telstra             $191 million
TPG Internet   $88 million
Vodafone        $68 million

The auctions offered access to the 1800Mhz bands beyond Australia's cities, meaning that the sparsely-populated rural areas can now have a better crack at using frequencies that are rather handy for delivering 4G services

To continue reading the article: click here. (theregister.co.uk)

Vodafone calls for government to prioritise expanded mobile coverage over copper network spending

05 Feb 2016
VodafoneNews

Telecommunications company Vodafone says the Federal Government should shift funds from maintaining Australia's ageing copper wire phone network, and put the money into mobile coverage instead.

Chief executive Inaki Berroeta told a forum in Parliament House on Thursday that Australia currently spends more than $200 million each year to maintain Telstra's copper network, much of which is slowly being replaced by fibre under the National Broadband Network.

He argues that is "hugely inefficient and an obsolete use of public funds," particularly when increasing numbers of Australians are accessing internet via wireless devices like phones.

Vodafone says data usage by its customers increased 70 per cent in 2015 compared with the year before.

The telco is also calling for Telstra to share its regional infrastructure with other telcos, to make regional network expansions financially viable for more companies, and to give regional consumers more choice.

To continue reading the article: click here. (abc.net.au)

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