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Alphabet Closer to Using Balloons for Telecom in Puerto Rico

08 Oct 2017
InTheNews

Last Friday, engineers on Google parent Alphabet’s internet-by-balloon Project Loon tweeted that they hoped to bring emergency connectivity to Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Irma and Maria left more than 90 percent of the island without cellphone coverage.

Just seven days later, the Federal Communications Commission Friday gave the company a green light to fly 30 balloons over Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands for up to six months.

If all goes to plan, Alphabet's balloons will soon help replace the thousands of cellphone towers knocked out of service by hurricane-strength winds. The balloons would provide voice and data service through local carriers to users’ phones.

The details of those arrangements aren’t complete. But in its application to the FCC, Alphabet included letters and emails from eight wireless carriers in Puerto Rico, in which they consented for Loon to use their frequencies for disaster relief and to restore limited communications. Two of those agreements were dated Friday.

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

Bunnaloo’s been left hanging on the phone

08 Oct 2017
TelstraNews

THE frustrated Bunnaloo community finally got answers about their sub-par phone coverage – but the wrong answers.

A recent meeting at the Bunnaloo Recreation Reserve aimed to address community concerns about poor phone coverage in the area.

Residents hoped the telecommunications tower installed earlier this year would be the answer but say it has instead caused additional headaches.

After extensive delays in getting the tower to full capacity, residents hoped their blackspot dilemma would finally come to an end.

But were told the tower is now operating at full capacity and discovered those who missed out on coverage would have to spend additional money on amplifiers to boost their coverage.

Farmer and fence contractor Gerard James said most residents thought the tower would cover much more of the blackspot than it does.

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

Residual spectrum to be sold at competitive auction

07 Oct 2017
AcmaNews

The multiband residual lots auction, scheduled to take place in late 2017, will include spectrum in the 1800 MHz, 2 GHz, 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands.

The Government will follow advice from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and lift existing allocation limits in the 2 GHz band to allow all interested parties to bid for residual spectrum in the band. Existing allocation limits for the 1800 MHz band will be retained and no allocations limits will apply in the 2, 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands.

The auction will encourage competition and enable all currently unused spectrum in relevant bands to be licensed under the current legislative framework. It will also help with a smooth transition to the new licensing framework proposed by the Radiocommunications Bill 2017.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority will conduct a single auction process for all bands on behalf of the Government.

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

Farmers need telecoms education – UNE

07 Oct 2017
InTheNews

A NEW REPORT into on-farm telecommunications from the University of New England (UNE) has found that farmers are not constrained by technology, rather by low levels of awareness and service provider options.

The report calls for marketplace policies to create fair access for Australian grain and livestock producers with an education campaign to increase use of digital agriculture technologies.

Senior UNE researcher David Lamb said his year-long  study, working as part of the Accelerating Precision Agriculture to Decision Agriculture Project (P2D), canvased the views and behaviors of more than 1000 producers, as well as technology providers.

“We found that the options are out there but in some cases, they’re almost hidden,” said Professor Lamb.

“The industry needs a much greater push on education so that producers have the information and the confidence to make the most of technology to enable digital agriculture and, in particular, we need market solutions to mobile technology access."

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

People ‘crying out’ for better mobile coverage, says advocacy group

07 Oct 2017
InTheNews

A telecommunications advocacy group has welcomed $50 million in state government funding to improve phone and internet issues in regional NSW.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) said it wanted to see more detail about how the government plans to spend the money, but remains hopeful it will make a significant difference.

“People in rural, regional and remote areas are crying out for improved and extended mobile coverage,” a spokesman said.

“Mobile coverage around important community areas and along highways and roads will benefit people’s lives and also increase safety for when accidents occur.

“$50 million is a significant amount of money, which will translate into real benefits for regional consumers, particularly if used to build on existing initiatives like the federal Mobile Black Spots Program.”

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

Intelsat and Intel reckon satellite spectrum could help with 5G's coming capacity crunch

05 Oct 2017
InTheNews

Intelsat and Intel reckon there's a chunk of spectrum currently devoted to satellite operations that could be useful for capacity-starved mobile comms.

The two (unrelated) outfits have submitted a joint proposal to the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), asking that it consider clearing some C-band wavelengths to prepare for the advent of 5G services.

“Intelsat and Intel urge the Commission to allow co-primary terrestrial mobile operations in the 3700-4200 MHz band through commercial agreements between terrestrial mobile interests and primarily affected FSS satellite operators”, the submission [PDF] suggests.

In particular, the proposal focuses on terrestrial use of C-band frequencies allocated to downlinks, because in spite of the high value of that spectrum to satellite operations, those frequencies also have propagation characteristics that are valuable to mobile operators.

As with any spectrum that's already in use, the document recognises the sensitivities such a proposal would trigger – in fact, even in the joint submission, the companies say they haven't wrapped up their own wrangling over the implementation details.

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

Vodafone and Optus boost 4G regional coverage

05 Oct 2017
VodafoneNews

Vodafone Australia has announced the expansion of 4G services in Central West NSW with the addition of nearly 1400 square kilometres to its mobile footprint in the region, while Optus yesterday announced a further $1.7 million spend for its network in Bathurst.

Both carriers are not backward in coming forward about spruiking their commitment to regional mobile investment, issuing regular updates about their network expansions.

Under the federal government’s Mobile Black Spot Programme, Vodafone has switched on a new mobile site at Jemalong near Forbes. The development expands Vodafone mobile voice and data services in the Jemalong Irrigation District and nearby Bedgerabong.

Vodafone’s mobile coverage in the Central West has also been extended with the construction of two new sites at Noonbinna outside Cowra and Weethalle near West Wyalong. The Noonbinna site provides coverage along parts of the Olympic Highway, Lachlan Valley Way and Noonbinna Road.

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

John Barilaro and Bronnie Taylor in Junee as NSW state government pledge $50 million pledge to fix country black spots

04 Oct 2017
InTheNews

The state government has pledged at least $50 million to tackle poor connectivity in country NSW, promising action for regional areas that have been left behind. 

Deputy Premier John Barilaro and his Parliamentary Secretary Bronnie Taylor announced the cash splash in Junee on Tuesday morning, ahead of the Cootamundra by-election. 

“What we’ve done with the $39 million we’ve already invested was piggybacking off the federal program, partnering with Optus, Vodaphone or Telstra,” Mr Barilaro said.

“What happens usually is those areas with high population centres get the funding first.

“What we’re doing with this announcement is working through the data we already have, with local government, community groups, industry and businesses to make sure we’re also building the infrastructure in places there is need.”

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

Fresh fight looms over plan for phone tower at Winsor Reserve, Macleod

04 Oct 2017
VodafoneNews

PEOPLE living near Mac­leod’s Winsor Reserve face a new fight to stop a giant mobile phone tower being built there.

Vodafone is planning to build two 30m towers in Macleod and Montmorency to improve phone coverage.

‘BRAIN TUMOURS’ FEARS OVER PHONE TOWER

Banyule councillors agreed at a recent meeting to lease council land to Vodafone for the two towers and said they would make the plans available for public consultation.

The Macleod tower is proposed for a 36sq m space at Winsor Reserve, and Vodafone has offered to install a light on the tower to help reserve users, which include Macleod’s junior football and cricket clubs.

Plans for an Optus mobile phone tower at the reserve were scrapped in 2012 after a community outcry.

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

NSW Govt pumps $50M into mobile infrastructure upgrades

03 Oct 2017
InTheNews

The NSW Government is set to pump at least $50 million into improving phone and data connectivity in the state’s rural and regional areas.

The funding commitment is part of the NSW Government’s $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund, which was announced in the 2017/18 NSW Budget.

It is likely that the funding commitment includes the $4 million set aside for better mobile phone services along the NSW Central Coast rail line. That investment complements the $12 million pledged by the Federal Government for the infrastructure upgrade.

Indeed, the NSW Government is now on the hunt suppliers to upgrade the mobile telecommunications infrastructure along the stretch of NSW coast set to receive the funding.

The total funding commitment of $16 million for the proposed project includes $4 million from the NSW Government.

“Mobile drop outs and blackspots are incredibly frustrating for commuters along the Central Coast Line, and the Turnbull Government is delivering on its election commitment to fix the problem.” Australia’s Minister for Communications, Mitch Fifield, said in a statement late last month.

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

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