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Tower approved despite resident concerns

07 Dec 2017

The residents of the outskirts of Yarrawonga located in the estate affectionally nicknamed Chicken Hill have a battle on their hands after Moira Shire Council approved a permit to build a 39-metre-high telecommunications tower approximately 200 metres from their homes.

The tower which will be built by Optus in 2018 has residents concerned about safety and the devaluation of their properties with many questioning why a proposal of an area approximately 300 metres further from the approved site wasn’t considered.

At the ordinary meeting of council on November 22 a planning permit application for a telecommunications facility at 5765 Benalla-Yarrawonga Road was put forward for recommendation despite more than 46 objections from locals living in the vicinity of the proposed tower.

Cr Peter Lawless spoke first to council where he said despite concerns around health issues from members of the community he could not see a reason to vote against the proposal.

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Optus defends controversial communications tower on the Bellarine Peninsula

07 Dec 2017

TELECOMMUNICATIONS giant Optus has defended its proposal to build a 40m high concrete mobile tower on the Bellarine Peninsula.

The company has dismissed concerns raised by the community that building the tower will require loss of protected vegetation and habitat for “rare and endangered” birds.

Optus is currently constructing a mobile tower in Indented Head after gaining planning approval.

But it's the proposal to build a 40m high “monopole” with three 2.6m long antennas in St Leonards that’s drawn the ire of some locals.

The proposal also includes a 2.1m high equipment shelter with a base area of 1.3 sqm.

Bellarine Community Council says the site on Old St Leonards Road is too close to the internationally protected Swan Bay wetlands.

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All we want in 2018 is #BetterBushComms

07 Dec 2017

RRR Communications Coalition celebrates one year

Anyone who lives in a rural or regional area knows the pain of poor telecommunications services.

We often hear stories of people pulling their hair out trying to run businesses, apply new technologies and educate their kids on small data allowances and unreliable connections.

We heard your concerns and in November 2016, we formed the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC) with the goal of making 2017 the year to improve connectivity in the bush.

In the past year, we have certainly made significant headway to achieve #BetterBushComms.

The commitment shown by our members has been incredible.

We’ve met fortnightly, and while the connections on our conference calls haven’t always been reliable, over the past year we have managed to have significant input and influence in a number of areas:

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The best mobile network by city: Optus takes crown from Telstra overall

06 Dec 2017

Optus has taken the crown from Telstra for the first time in four years, in a benchmark test comparing Australia's three leading mobile network operators across voice and data services.

The P3 Connect Mobile Benchmark Australian test gives each network a ranking based on measurements across nine large cities, 19 smaller towns and 6400 kilometres of major roads, and provides a grading for networks based on the quality of two categories: voice and data.

Optus was the most improved network over 2017, taking out the top score for voice and improving its data score, giving it an overall ranking of 887. This is the first time it has achieved the top ranking, largely as a result of its improvements in regional areas.

It improved 50 points from the previous year to overtake Telstra's score of 884 out of 1000. Last year, Telstra was awarded top spot overall and this year it remained the top network for data. 

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Mobile black spots: Who's getting an upgrade?

06 Dec 2017

PATCHY mobile phone coverage in areas north of Mackay area is about to improve.

Mt Ossa and Yalbaroo residents will soon be able to access new or improved mobile coverage with the start of the Priority Locations round of the Mobile Black Spot Program.

In Dawson, two mobile black spot locations are already being addressed under the first two rounds of the program, with a new mobile tower built on the Bowen Developmental Rd, between Bowen and Collinsville, and another mobile tower to be completed at Woodwark in the Whitsundays next year.

"It's fantastic to see that the Mt Ossa and Yalboroo communities, as well as all those who travel the Bruce Highway between Mackay and the Whitsundays, is one step closer to receiving new and improved mobile coverage,” Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said.

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Grose Vale black spot tower tender process opened by government

05 Dec 2017

THE federal government has opened the tender process a mobile phone tower, which should deliver and fix a mobile phone black spot in the Grose Vale area.

Two black spots in the Hawkesbury are scheduled to be fixed by building new towers through funding from the federal government’s Mobile Black Spot Program.

The funding from the program is to fix black spot areas, particularly in regions which are prone to bush fires and affect the safety of residents.

One tower is to be built at Grose Vale, while the other will be built at St Albans, which is being funded through the ‘Priority Locations Round’.

The priority locations round of funding is meant to deliver 106 mobile phone towers across the country according to the federal government.

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Region's beaches getting better mobile connection

04 Dec 2017

OUR region's beaches are always brimming with holiday-makers and this festive season will be no different.

With social media set to be in overdrive with happy summer snaps, family posts and more, Telstra has announced mobile coverage upgrades to three of Bundaberg's most popular holiday spots.

Coral Cove, Burnett Heads and Elliott Heads are three locations that will receive upgrades to the network in time to keep holiday-makers connected over the break.

Telstra area general manager May Boisen said the move will relieve summer holiday anxiety.

"Holidays are about staying connected, with 66% of Queenslanders checking social media to see what friends and family are up to, and 67% using their phone to see what happening in the news,” Ms Boisen said. "Every year we see more and more demand for mobile services on beaches, national parks and camping spots around the country. "This is driving our investment in new coverage and improving 3G and 4G capacity at holiday spots across Queensland.”

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End Of November Update

02 Dec 2017

Optus continues its spectacular deployment rate with a further 41 new sites in the past fortnight, with all states apart from ACT getting in on the action. Most of these sites were rural based locations with 6 being small cell sites. Optus also managed to upgrade an additional 150 sites with the vast majority in mainland eastern states, 4G2100 was the main focus but a few rural areas got 4G1800.

Telstra continues to plod along with 12 new sites and a further 54 site upgrades. The new sites were mostly rural and the upgrades were mostly metro with 4G700 and 4G2600 continuing to be the main focus. Telstra also continue to propose many more 4G900 IOT sites as well.

Vodafone also added 12 new sites to their network this fortnight with an additional 37 site upgrades. As always with Vodafone most of the action is happening in metro areas and the main focus continues to be 4G2100 but there was a spattering of other bands also with some 4G850 towers still being deployed, no further 4G700 proposals either.

TPG is unchanged this fortnight.

NBN also added 7 new sites as well as 3 new site proposals, as well as 4 site upgrades and 11 proposals for site upgrades. Outer metro areas also continue to be the main focus now for new sites.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has decreased by 6 sites as Telstra seems unable to make a huge dint in Optus' lead, with Optus deploying new sites quicker than Telstra can upgrade existing ones. Optus is still ahead of Telstra in 4G700 by 1009 sites.

Regional WA not in round three of Mobile Black Spot Program

01 Dec 2017

The Esperance region is not missing out on improved communications capability despite missing out on the latest round of federal government funding, according to O’Connor MP Rick Wilson.

This comes after WA regional development minister Alannah Mactiernan lashed out at the federal government for only selecting one regional WA site for its mobile black spot funding.

“Our GST share is just the tip of the iceberg: now WA is now being ripped off by the Federal Government on mobile black spot funding,” she said.

However, a spokesperson for Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said WA received highest number of new or improved base stations in the country under the first two rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Program.

“The regional electorates of O’Connor and Durack will receive 175 new mobile towers under rounds one and two of the program, this represents 23 per cent of all towers under the first two rounds,” the spokesperson said.

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Seeing red on black spots

01 Dec 2017

WA has been short-changed in the latest round of Mobile Black Spot Funding, drawing criticism from Agriculture and Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan.

The $60 million-a-year black-spot program, driven by the Federal Government, aims to improve mobile coverage along major regional transport routes, in small communities and in priority locations.

But only seven WA locations were selected of 106 available nationwide in the latest round, announced last week.

Of these, just one — Serpentine/Keysbrook — is in a regional area. The other six, Bickley, Bullsbrook, Chidlow, Parkerville, Swan Valley and Lake Clifton, are on the urban fringe.

The WA Government contributed more than $53 million to the program over the past three years — $20 million more than the next highest contributing State.

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