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Oodnadatta pink roadhouse safe haven for travellers despite mobile black spot problems

12 Dec 2017

For many drivers in the outback, where there are few options to rest, it is more than just an average roadhouse.

With no mobile phone reception between towns on the Oodnadatta Track, and limited signal even when in nearby towns, the town's Pink Roadhouse provides a stopping point and an oasis for locals and tourists.

Adriana Jacob and her husband own the Pink Roadhouse at Oodnadatta, more than a thousand kilometres north-west of Adelaide in Central Australia, an icon in the desert for more than 35 years.

Ms Jacob said the familiarity for drivers when they see the bright colour of the exterior provides relief with travel tips, fuel, weather reports, road conditions, local knowledge and, importantly, a location for mobile phone reception.

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TPG expands initial 4G clusters to Adelaide, Brisbane

10 Dec 2017

Flags move into regional centres.

TPG has expanded the initial reach of its mobile network to cover parts of Adelaide and Brisbane, and revealed longer-term plans to service regional centres.

The company is in the process of becoming Australia’s fourth mobile network operator, courtesy of a near $2 billion investment in mobile infrastructure and spectrum.

It said in mid-September that it planned to deploy dense “initial clusters” of small cells in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra by mid-2018.

Just three months later, its ambitions have expanded.

“We today advise that we now also expect some initial clusters of sites to be implemented in Adelaide and Brisbane in the same timeframe, ie by the middle of 2018,” chief financial officer Stephen Bancroft told investors.

TPG has a mix of 700MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz spectrum holdings. Its network structure will consist of a dense network of small cells and more traditional “macro” cell sites covering less populated areas.

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Calls for better phone coverage across the region

09 Dec 2017

LONG-SUFFERING Bundaberg and Burnett mobile phone users fed up with poor connections can take some comfort from Optus's $7 million investment in the region, including a new mobile tower at Alloway.

The tower will improve mobile and data coverage across Alloway and its surrounds including south along Goodwood Rd.

It's part of Optus's $7 million investment in the Bundaberg and Wide Bay Burnett area and is the 7000th network site in Australia.

Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said connectivity had been an issue for years for residents, businesses and emergency services crews alike.

"I welcome the investment by Optus into regional Queensland, particularly those areas in the Burnett that have long been calling out for action to boost mobile coverage,” he said.

"We know more and more people rely on their mobile phones for everyday activities.


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Phones get poor reception at iconic pub - Owners determined to keep conversation alive

09 Dec 2017

Veteran Kyabram journalist Gus Underwood continues his series on a recent trip through outback NSW and Queensland and visits an outback pub in far north-west Queensland that has brought in a few new rules to deal with mobile phones…

AS FAR as Frank and Debbie Wust are concerned outback pubs should be all about communication.

Yes, good old fashioned chatter.

Face-to-face stuff and plenty of it, no matter how far-fetched, exaggerated or downright boring it all may be.

So when it was announced a telecommunications tower was being erected just over the road from their pub in the far north-west Queensland outback whistlestop of McKinlay, Frank and Debbie made a decision.

The tower means customers to their historic Walkabout Hotel — made famous by the Aussie blockbuster movie Crocodile Dundee — will be able to use mobile phones for the first time in this isolated neck of the woods about 60km south of Cloncurry on the Matilda Highway.

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Telstra expands coverage, doubles data allowance for overseas roaming

09 Dec 2017

Telstra has doubled the data allowance for its overseas roaming, while also expanding coverage to 17 additional countries.

The telco’s International Day Pass will now have 200 MB of mobile data for $10 a day, or $5 a day in New Zealand.

Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka and Russia are among the 17 new countries with roaming coverage, upping the total number to 75 countries.

“Customers can opt-in to a day pass anytime before their trip as they will only be charged for the days they use their mobile and will have more data to use when accessing travel services like maps, translation and social apps,” Telstra head of consumer and small business mobiles Kevin Teoh said.

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Mobile takes hold for Aussie internet explorers

09 Dec 2017

The importance of mobility in the enterprise IT mix has been highlighted once again in the latest report by Australia’s telco industry regulator, which shows that more Australians connect to the internet via their mobile phones than by any other means.   

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) Communications report 2016-17, tabled in Federal Parliament on 8 December, revealed that mobile phones are the most popular and frequently used device for internet access in the country.

According to the ACMA, an estimated 33.64 million mobile voice and data services were in operation in Australia as of June 2017, representing an increase of 3.2 per cent compared to the previous year.

“While the use of a mobile phone overall appears to have reached saturation levels, smartphone ownership grew in 2016–17, increasing by 17 percentage points from 64 per cent four years ago,” the report stated. “This growth is reflected by the number of mobile phone shipments to Australia, which grew by 18.4 per cent to reach 2.16 million phones for Q2 2017. 

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It’s a towering achievement

08 Dec 2017

TOOBORAC has received improved mobile coverage thanks to the coalition government’s Mobile Black Spots Program.

The newly installed small cell mobile tower will bring improved connectivity to the community.

Redesdale is also set to receive a new tower in 2018 as part of the program.

“The building of the coalition’s 765 new or improved mobile phone towers has really ramped up now,” a spokeswoman for the Regional Communications Department said.

‘‘We’re building a tower every day, in partnership with telecommunications companies.

“Getting local planning permissions for the mobile tower sites, and in some cases going through complaints processes, is largely complete and the towers are going up at a rate of knots.

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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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