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South Australian grants approved by Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash could be overturned

30 Oct 2017

MINISTERIAL decisions taken by Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash over the past 12 months could be overturned by a court, according to bombshell legal advice commissioned by the Labor Party.

South Australian mobile phone tower black spot funding, River Murray sustainability grants and appointments to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority have all been identified as potentially at risk.

Federal Attorney-General George Brandis on Sunday said most decisions made by the two former ministers since the 2016 election should be valid because they were formally signed off by cabinet or the Governor-General.

Former deputy prime minister and agriculture minister Mr Joyce has begun campaigning for the December 2 New England by-election after the High Court disqualified him from Parliament for holding New Zealand citizenship at the last election.

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Phone tower signals heritage fears

28 Oct 2017

A 42m telecommunications tower behind the Broad Arrow Tavern, 38km north of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, has been approved despite concerns from some of the ghost-town’s few residents it would destroy the heritage value of the historic Goldfields locale.

Telstra plans to set up the tower by January to provide mobile coverage and wireless data to the popular tourist destination and its surrounds under the Federal and State Government-funded Mobile Black Spot Program.

The City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder council voted unanimously this week to give conditional planning approval for the tower, with Mayor John Bowler saying mobile coverage was a 21st century necessity.

“I can imagine those residents having concerns because Broad Arrow is very, very unique,” he said. “But coming with the 21st century is modern communications and there’s also the safety aspects.”

The Broad Arrow Tavern, built in 1896, is the last major building left in the town which, in typical gold rush fashion, had its population grow to 2400 people by 1900 before sliding into insignificance by the 1920s.

Residents Alan Ball and Glyn Morgan claim that despite having a population of just “five or six people”, they were not consulted on the location of the tower.

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ACMA begins reallocating spectrum for 5G

27 Oct 2017

Details re-farming of 3.6GHz, 900MHz bands

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has begun the process of reallocating spectrum in the 3.6GHz band for use in 5G services.

In June the ACMA consulted on the potential re-farming of 3.6GHz spectrum. The move affects a range of current users of the band, which include satellite earth stations in metropolitan areas and point-to-multipoint users in regional areas (such as some wireless Internet service providers).

“The 3.6GHz band is being looked at internationally as a pioneer band for 5G mobile broadband,” ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said in a statement. “We want to make sure Australia is well placed to realise the benefits 5G has to offer.”

The ACMA is also pushing forward with re-farming spectrum in the 900MHz GSM band for use in 4G services, following the decision by Vodafone, Telstra and Optus to switch off their 2G networks.

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Telstra rep tells Two Rocks Yanchep Residents Association there will never be ‘blanket coverage’

27 Oct 2017

TWO telecommunications towers proposed for Two Rocks could improve mobile network coverage, but a provider says there will never be “blanket coverage”.

Telstra area manager Boyd Brown attended the Two Rocks Yanchep Residents Association’s October meeting to hear residents’ concerns about mobile service coverage in the area.

Mr Brown said Telstra has plans to install two towers in Two Rocks in the next six months – one at the Telstra exchange beside the Phil Renkin Recreation Centre and the other in the southern part of the suburb.

He said coverage centred on areas with denser populations.

“We will never have blanket coverage,” he said.

Mr Brown said a variety of factors could affect signal strength, including the age of a handset and the settings it had.

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Vodafone customers could soon have improved coverage

27 Oct 2017

VODAFONE plans to improve mobile phone reception on the Coffs Coast by installing a new mobile phone base station and upgrading two existing facilities.

It has issued a proposal to build the new mobile phone base station on 11 Unwins Rd, which is on the western side of the Pacific Highway at Sandy Beach.

The installation will include a 50m mast, three antennas measuring less than 2.8m on the mast, 12 remote radio units near the antenna, two microwave radio-communication dishes and other ancillary equipment.

For more information about the base station, contact Chris Hayes at [email protected] or visit

Written submissions are to be sent to Chris Hayes - Avisford Consulting, PO Box 20454, World Square, NSW 2002 by 5pm November 3.

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Residents band together to stop mobile phone tower

25 Oct 2017

There’s a battle to stop a phone tower from being built in Banjup, in Perth’s southern suburbs.

Locals say the 37-metre structure will ruin their views, but Vodafone isn’t backing down, taking the fight to the State Administrative Tribunal today.

Banjup resident Jane Yovich lives just 20 metres from the planned site and is concerned it will bring down property prices.

“Our land values will all drop, it’s not just us it’s the whole area - the land values will drop probably 25 percent or more,” Ms Yovich said.

Ms Yovich said the community is also worried about the effects of radiation from the phone tower.

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ACCC identifies a “number of issues” with regional mobile coverage

25 Oct 2017

Australia’s consumer watchdog has identified a “number of issues” with regional mobile coverage after deciding not to declare mobile roaming.

If a national roaming service were to be declared, it would mean that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) would set conditions allowing mobile network users to access infrastructure belonging to telecommunications providers other than their own to access coverage.

Now, the ACCC has said that there is a range of other regulatory and policy measures that could improve inadequate mobile phone coverage and poor quality of service in regional Australia.

The ACCC said, despite deciding not to declare mobile roaming in regional Australia, it had heard from many consumers and businesses that inadequate mobile coverage affects the social and economic well-being of regional communities

“We identified a number of issues where we think improvements could be made that would deliver better outcomes for regional consumers,” ACCC chairman, Rod Sims said.

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Fears for NBN as mobile internet provides faster speeds and more reliable service

24 Oct 2017

MANY customers are not happy with the NBN they are getting and they could soon have a better option that’s faster and more reliable.

THE NBN is already obsolete and the rise of new technologies will see many abandon the slow and unreliable network, an expert says.

Next year a new 5G network will be tested during the Commonwealth Games being held on the Gold Coast and, if successful, could be a gamechanger for fast broadband in Australia.

Associate Professor Mark Gregory of RMIT University said the introduction of ultrafast mobile broadband would change people’s views about mobile internet.

“The idea has always been that a fixed connection will always have more capacity and higher speed,” Prof Gregory told

“But because of the Prime Minister’s decision to roll out obsolete technology, we will see a flip flop and the mobile option will become the better option, with better speeds and more reliability than the NBN connection,” he said.

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ACCC urges TPG to use NBN for rollout

24 Oct 2017

TPG Telecom could reap some benefit from the competition regulator’s push for greater industry co-operation on mobile infrastructure access, with the telco potentially using NBN Co’s wireless network to extend its reach.

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission boss Rod Sims said the regulator would write to NBN Co and telcos to encourage more active discussions about opportunities to use NBN Co’s network to complement or assist mobile network rollouts.

“This is really aimed at TPG Telecom because they are well placed to deliver a service using the NBN infrastructure,” he told The Australian. “There’s every reason for NBN Co to look at this option and we will be there to facilitate the conversation.”

Vodafone Australia, which was hoping to get mandated access to Telstra’s regional network, isn’t impressed by the NBN option, saying that a lot of the NBN wireless footprint runs in areas where operators already have a network.

“It’s not clear whether NBN Co will be on board on sharing and whether it will actually help any operator,” the telco said.

However, the regulator’s willingness to make the NBN wireless network part of a broader solution to fix reception in rural Australia bodes well for TPG, which is taking a targeted approach to its mobile network.

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Competition watchdog rules against using mobile phone roaming as solution to blackspots

24 Oct 2017

Mobile phone blackspots will not be solved by allowing domestic roaming, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has ruled, but Vodafone will continue challenging the decision in court.

The competition watchdog has been investigating whether telecommunications companies should be forced to provide mobile phone roaming services for all Australians.

The ACCC said the inquiry had been prompted by an increasing number of complaints from rural residents who could not get coverage outside regional centres unless they were Telstra customers.

Regional residents know the problem of blackspots well.

Some people are forced to run up a hill to receive a text code for banking, or drive way down the road to make mobile phone calls.

Blackspots are dangerous in times of emergencies such as accidents, fires or floods, and create havoc for businesses.

With Telstra holding 84 per cent of some regional markets, it is common for people to curse the biggest monopoly telco.

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