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Grain Producers Australia chairman Andrew Weidemann says farming held back by data drought

23 Mar 2017
InTheNews

GRAIN Producers Australia has backed a campaign by 17 rural and farmer representative groups to improve access to mobile reception and internet in regional areas.

The group wants new minimum service standards for voice and data; public funding to open up the rural mobile networks to their competitors’ customers; and better access satellite broadband.

Rupanyup farmer and Grain Producers Australia chairman Andrew Weidemann said he agreed with those goals.

“I’ve spent a lot of time at conferences speaking about the need for mobile phone coverage and the need for greater access to data,” he said.

“It’s holding investment back and stopping productivity gains. There needs to be coverage regardless of the telecommunications provider.

“Data exchange between equipment is the future of agriculture.”

The rural mobile group presented its goals to government and shadow ministers in Canberra on Monday.

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

Manilla, Dungowan and Walcha Road to receive Telstra upgrades

23 Mar 2017
TelstraNews

MANILLA locals may be without mobile service yet again as Telstra carries out upgrades.

Telstra will be installing new 4G infrastructure on the town’s mobile tower on Tuesday, although expect disruption to be minimal.

A spokesperson for Telstra said the “planned maintenance work is expected to cause just a short interruption to services”.

“The work will assist in providing long-term benefits for mobile services in the area and we apologise for any inconvenience,” the spokesperson said.

Locals have been plagued by mobile and internet issues over the last few months, with lightning strikes and other maintenance works causing a number of delays and outages.

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

Plans for two mobile phone towers on hold in Morisset as Telstra and Optus consider shared tower arrangement

23 Mar 2017
InTheNews

PROPOSALS for two mobile phone towers in Morisset have stalled as Telstra and Optus consider a request from Lake Macquarie City Council to explore operating from a single shared tower.

Last year, Optus submitted plans to erect a 35-metre mobile phone tower in Kalef Avenue, to boost mobile phone reception and data services in and around the Morisset industrial area.

Telstra later submitted plans for a 40-metre monopole in a corner of Morisset Showground, in Ourimbah Street.

In assessing the proposals, council has asked each proponent to consider a co-location arrangement.

The prospects for such an arrangement aren’t good.

A spokesperson for Optus told the council the telco had received some preliminary feedback “that the proposed Optus facility is not suitable for the Telstra network objectives”.

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

Telstra upgrade in Manilla could cause further outages

20 Mar 2017
TelstraNews

MANILLA locals may be without mobile service yet again as Telstra carries out upgrades on the town’s mobile tower.

Telstra will be installing new 4G infrastructure on the Manilla mobile tower tomorrow.

A spokesperson for Telstra said the “planned maintenance work is expected to cause just a short interruption to services”.

“The work will assist in providing long-term benefits for mobile services in the area and we apologise for any inconvenience,” the spokesperson said.

Locals have been plagued by mobile and internet issues over the last few months, with lightining strikes and maintenance works causing a number of issues.

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

Telstra Speaks Out Against Domestic Roaming

20 Mar 2017
TelstraNews

At the launch of its 100th mobile base station under the government’s Mobile Black Spot Program, Telstra has claimed that its involvement in the program would be at risk if domestic mobile roaming is declared.

Repeating previous statements by the company against other networks ‘piggybacking’ its network in rural areas, Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said the telco could not commit to additional co-funding in the program unless the ACCC decides to not declare mobile roaming.

“Roaming is not the model to solve coverage. If you implement roaming, that will, I think, undermine the black spots program,” Penn told The Australian Financial Review.

Telstra has already committed $229 million to building a total of 577 base stations in the first two rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Program, compared to $22 million worth of investment by Vodafone in both rounds and a $36.4 million by Optus in the second round. Additional contributions from the state and federal governments bring the total funding to almost $600 million.

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

'Bad for customers, shareholders' – Telstra's regional roaming rage

20 Mar 2017
TelstraNews

Culla doesn't have a post office or any shops. It doesn't even have a pub. But on Thursday morning the regional Victorian township did get a Telstra phone tower.

It was a big deal for this less-than-a-dot of a township with no fewer than two federal politicians and Telstra's chief executive Andy Penn on hand to mark the occasion.

Ostensibly this was the launch of the 100th mobile tower built under the federal government's Mobile Black Spots, which helps explain the presence of the Minister for Regional Communications Fiona Nash and Minister for Veterans' Affairs (and local Liberal MP) Dan Tehan.

The tower will give, for the first time, the surrounding community and visitors access to Telstra's 4G network. This single tower will cover about 260 square kilometres. Previously residents relied on Optus' 3G tower in Harrow, about 15 kilometres away.

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

Mid March Update

20 Mar 2017
OzTowers

So far, this year we haven’t seen much in the way of activity and this fortnight hasn't changed that in any meaningful way. Optus leads the pack with 16 new sites, fairly evenly spread across the entire country. As well as upgrading a further 43 sites, continuing their 4G rollout. Reminder: Optus switch off of 2G is happening April 3rd for WA & NT, and August 1st for all other states. 

Telstra continues to plod along with 9 new sites as well as 30 site upgrades. 4G700 remains Telstra’s focus, however an additional 108 proposals to add 4G900 to many sites was noticed also, which adds to over 600 proposals so far, this year alone.

Vodafone continues to lag behind now that they have spent all their network upgrade money, adding 5 new sites and upgrading a further 15. All 5 new sites were in conjunction with Optus, and the upgrades were mostly 4G2100 related which would most likely be aimed at 4G congestion relief.

NBN activated 14 sites, as well as upgrading a further 9 sites. So far, this year NBN has proposed only 11 new sites indicating that planning of new sites is winding down.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has increased by 7 sites as Optus tries to hold Telstra at bay. Optus is still ahead of Telstra however in 4G700 by 1077 sites.

 

Opinion: Mobile roaming seems to be the hot button topic of late, with the ACCC making a decision on the matter in the coming months. Telstra and Optus stand on one side of the debate, with Vodafone and arguably remote communities standing on the other. Whilst some might be surprised at Optus' stance, their spending in rural areas has increased dramatically of late and will continue to do so based on recent proposals. My take on roaming, is that I believe there is a case for roaming in rural communities which are underserved, however I believe it should be tied to the Mobile Blackspot program. Taxpayer money should not be used to cement the dominance of one provider over the remainder, which is what we have seen out of the Blackspot funding thus far. Telstra has gotten almost 3x more sites than the other 2 providers combined.

If roaming was a condition to receiving funding to build a tower, then I think we would see a far more even spread of blackspot towers built by all providers. If a provider wants to maintain their dominance, then they can use their own money. I believe this would be a win for those who are truly remote while not taking away too much from those willing to spend the money in the bush. In fact this scheme would incentivise providers to not use blackspot funding, again leaving it for those who truly need it. Although we may see less "blackspot" towers built as providers would demand more funding due to the sharing, I think over all we would see more towers built in rural and remote areas as providers want to differentiate themselves in different ways like coverage.

Telstra could pay the price for ACCC’s mobile roaming call

18 Mar 2017
TelstraNews

The ACCC is aiming to release its decision on mobile roaming before Easter, which explains why Telstra is ramping up the investment threats as it tries to paint the regulator into a corner.

Telstra boss Andy Penn yesterday repeated threats that if his mobile service was declared he would reduce spending in the bush.

The focus maybe on so-called regional Australia but the real battleground is the city, as Telstra wants to be able to say it has the best national coverage to justify its higher metropolitan prices. Right now, its network covers 99.3 per cent of the country, Optus some 98 per cent and Vodafone 96 per cent.

The ACCC has twice considered whether to force Telstra to the negotiating table and declare the network but it stepped back most recently in 2013 on the basis that the mobile carriers could work out among themselves the best way to determine the rent for mobile roaming.

Since October that year, Vodafone has had a request into Telstra seeking to negotiate and, so far, Telstra has declined to take calls.

This same attitude explains why we have the NBN today, because Telstra refused to upgrade its fixed network in a way which would open the door to competitors.

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

Derby mobile network switched on by Telstra

18 Mar 2017
TelstraNews

Ahead of the Enduro World Series in April, mobile phone coverage has been upgraded at Derby.

The Telstra 4GX-capable phone tower was officially switched on at a community event in the town on Friday.

Telstra area general manager Michael Patterson said the project was fast-tracked as a priority to be ready ahead of the event.

“The event organisers had underlined the importance of telecommunications for the event, so we decided to fast-track the project to construct and turn the tower on,” he said.

The event is expected to attract hundreds of competitors and spectators to the region, all of whom would be using the network to share images and videos to social media.

The community event to launch the tower was attended by Dorset Mayor Greg Howard, Apsley MLC Tanya Rattray and former MP Eric Hutchinson.

 

 

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

Telstra's mobile black spot rollout ramped up

17 Mar 2017
TelstraNews

RURAL and regional Queensland can expect increased and improved mobile coverage as the federal government’s Mobile Black Spot Program (MBSP) is rolled out.

Telstra is installing 577 new mobile base stations across rural and regional Australia under the Mobile Black Spot Program, representing more than $486 million worth of co-investment between Telstra, the federal and state governments as well as numerous local councils to improve mobile coverage along major regional transport routes, in small communities and in locations prone to natural disasters.

Telstra area general manager Darren Clark said Telstra had reached a major milestone in its commitment to expand mobile technology under the MBSP with 100 new mobile base stations now online across the nation, including 24 in Queensland.

“Telstra is a proud long-time member, service provider and employer in the Queensland community, and we know that increased coverage is the number one priority for people and businesses in regional Australia,“ Mr Clark said.

“We have already delivered more than 50,000 square kilometres of new or improved coverage nationally under the Mobile Black Spot Program.

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

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