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Telstra hit by Parklea exchange fire

10 May 2017
TelstraNews

Orders in mobile exchanges on wheels.

Telstra has been hit by an exchange fire in Sydney’s north-west overnight that has caused “extensive damage” and impacted fixed and mobile services in the area.

The telco said that the site at Parklea had been declared safe following the fire and that it had technicians on-site to assess the damage and begin work on repairs.

In the interim, Telstra has said it will bring in two of its mobile exchange on wheels (MEOW) trailers in a bid to restore services while permanent repairs are made.

The MEOWs are expected to arrive onsite on Wednesday morning. The carrier has not yet said when services might be restored.

“Due to the extent of the damage we expect permanent restoration to take a number of days,” Telstra said.

The telco said the effects of the exchange fire were being felt in Parklea and the neighbouring suburb of Kellyville.

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

NBN And Mobile Black Spots: What's In the 2017 Budget For Regional Australia

09 May 2017
InTheNews

High–speed broadband "at affordable prices" and the continuation of the Mobile Black Spot Program are some of the plans for rural and regional Australia revealed in the 2017 Federal Budget, announced by Treasurer Scott Morrison tonight.

"$29.5 billion in equity in the National Broadband Network and will provide a commercial loan of up to $19.5 billion to NBN Co Limited to be repaid by June 2021," a statement from the office of Communications and the Arts reads.

"Delivering high–speed broadband to remote and regional Australia is a key priority. By the end of April 2017, services were already available to over two million of these homes and businesses through fixed line, fixed wireless and satellite infrastructure, and will be available to around 3.6 million remote and regional premises by 2020."

The Australian Government is also implementing the Regional Broadband Scheme, where all fixed line network owners (including NBN) will "contribute funding proportionally to the size of their networks, replacing NBN's internal cross-subsidy."

The Government says this is to "provide a sustainable and transparent funding source for NBN's fixed wireless and satellite networks. The company's fixed wireless and satellite networks provide essential broadband services to regional Australians and are expected to be largely complete in 2018."

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

Towering news for Pipers Creek black spot

09 May 2017
TelstraNews

Calls to improve phone and internet coverage in Pipers Creek have been answered.

Telstra has installed a mobile tower in Pipers Creek as part of the federal government’s Mobile Black Spot Program.

Absent and poor telecommunications coverage in the region impedes safety, business productivity, education, social connectedness and access to services, a 2014 study into the Macedon Ranges Telecommunications Black Spots found.

“When internet banking requires confirmation details and responds with an SMS, weather determines whether I get the message,” one survey participant said.

Other survey responses said their lack of reception made it difficult to work from home.

Macedon MP Mary-Anne Thomas said the tower would upgrade coverage, reducing these challenges for residents.

“Residents in Pipers Creek will now see a substantial improvement to mobile coverage and connectivity,” Ms Thomas said.

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

Qld Premier asks Govt to make good on mobile blackspot funding

09 May 2017
InTheNews

The Queensland Government has backed farmers’ calls for the Federal Government to deliver on its funding commitment and improve mobile coverage in Queensland’s rural and remote communities.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy, Leeanne Enoch, said the looming 2017 Federal Budget, set to be handed down on 9 May, should address frustrated farmers’ calls to access the latest technology that will improve mobile phone efficiency.

“Like the National Farmers’ Federation, the [Queensland] Government believes the Commonwealth should deliver new funding to help regional communities, where poor or non-existent mobile reception is a major problem,” Enoch said.

“Poor mobile phone coverage is a serious safety issue and hurts local businesses. The Turnbull Government cannot afford to let down rural and remote Queenslanders frustrated with mobile phone black spots.”

Backing from the Queensland Government, under Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, follows the National Farmers’ Federation’s recent budget submission to the Turnbull Government, which called on at least $60 million per year for the mobile black spot program, or equivalent program, which prioritises community-identified areas and open-access facilities.

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

Smithfield residents slam plan for mobile phone tower approval

08 May 2017
OptusNews

SMITHFIELD residents are urging Cairns regional councillors to stop a mobile phone tower being built almost in their backyards.

Janine Banks has condemned a recommendation from council officers to approve the 25m-tall Optus tower when it comes before the planning and environment committee tomorrow. (WED)

The Carbine Cl resident said the proposed tower would be within 70m of houses with 644 residents living within 400m of its proposed site.

“It’s outrageous that council planners would recommend the tower be built when their (planning scheme) clearly states that mobile phone towers shouldn’t be built within 400m of houses,” Ms Banks said.

“What’s the point of having the plan if you’re not going to follow its guidelines?”

“This tower will be visible from my home and others and will impact on property prices and our visible enjoyment of the area.

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

Smeaton receives mobile service boost with 4G small cell technology

08 May 2017
TelstraNews

The small cell is a miniature version of a regular base station, such as those which are being rolled out under the mobile black spot program.

The technology has traditionally been used in built up metropolitan areas, however they are now being used in regional and rural locations.

Telstra area general manager Steve Tinker said the small cell technology was a good fit for the town given it was close to areas with strong service.   

“The technology will provide in-field coverage to the town itself, because there’s service outside of the town but it’s when you get in buildings that it provides a real challenge,” Mr Tinker said.  

“We know how important mobile voice calling is for local communities and businesses.”

The town has repeatedly been overlooked in the mobile black spot program, despite being nominated by federal MP Catherine King.

It is one of the first 50 regional and rural locations in Australia to receive the small cell technology and just one of four in the state.  All up Telstra plans to roll out 135 stations across the country at a cost of $165 million. 

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

Labor adopts wait-and-see policy on roaming draft decision

08 May 2017
InTheNews

The Australian Labor Party has adopted a wait-and-see policy on the decision by the competition regulator not to declare wholesale mobile roaming and open up telecommunications to greater market competition.

The draft decision, released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Friday, drew an angry reaction from Vodafone and the Competitive Carriers’ Coalition, both of whom accuse the ACCC of continuing to do nothing while Telstra uses its monopoly power to “over-charge consumers and undermine national telecoms competition”.

Labor's shadow communications minister Michelle Rowland and shadow minister for regional services Stephen Jones said in a joint statement that the party would be "reviewing... (the) draft decision closely and will await final determination".

The Labor statement examined both sides of the equation but said very little to indicate where the party would come down after the ACCC's final determination which is expected by mid-year.

"In making this decision the ACCC has sought to balance the importance of preserving commercial incentives to invest in regional infrastructure, with ensuring competitive pressure supports efficient operation of the mobile market," the two shadow ministers said.

"The ACCC identified serious concerns that a roaming declaration may dilute incentives for companies to invest in infrastructure and mobile coverage in the bush. This would not be in the interests of rural and regional Australia."

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

Telstra to 'immediately' expand 4G network if ACCC draft decision holds

06 May 2017
TelstraNews

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn has said Telstra will "immediately" move to expand its 4G network to 99 percent of the Australian population should the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) confirm its draft decision not to declare wholesale domestic mobile roaming.

"If this decision is confirmed, we will immediately move to expand our 4G coverage to reach 99 percent of the population by later this year," Penn told media on Friday.

"It also paves the way for ongoing investment in the coming years that would see an additional 1.4 million square kilometres of 4G coverage for regional and rural Australia. This means that about 600 base stations will be upgraded from 3G to 4G.

"If this decision is confirmed, I look forward to Telstra getting on with the job of supporting regional Australia with even more investment."

Telstra had previously flagged its intent to expand its 4G network to 99 percent of the population by mid-2017 -- as long as certain regulatory settings remained in place.

Penn added that the ACCC's decision was the right one to make, as it provides incentives for all other mobile providers to invest in building networks across regional Australia.

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

New Telstra tower for Golspie

06 May 2017
TelstraNews

Golspie has received a new Telstra mobile base station on Thursday as part of federal funding for the Mobile Black Spot Program.

The 40 meter pole on Golspie Road, which will be switched online in the coming weeks, will provide 3G and 4G Telstra mobile coverage, at faster speeds, for the first time in the surrounding region

“We know that increased coverage is the number one priority for people and businesses in regional Australia,” Telstra Area General Manager Chris Taylor said.

“Expanding coverage to the region will allow the community to keep in contact with family and friends and run their businesses more effectively.”

He said significant work has taken place behind the scenes, including design planning, community consultations, the formulation and development of planning applications and working with the local council to ensure there is a “best outcome for everybody.”

Resident Chris Croker, who lives about 2km from the tower, says this is “quite a milestone”.

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

TPG, Vodafone the big losers from ACCC's roaming decision

05 May 2017
InTheNews

The competition regulator's decision to preserve the status quo in mobile networks in rural areas means Australia will remain an outlier when it comes to sharing monopoly mobile networks to promote competition and innovation.

Countries which have forced incumbent operators to share their mobile networks include the United States, France, Spain, New Zealand and South Africa.

There are obvious winners and losers from the decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The two obvious winners are Telstra and Optus, which get to preserve the exclusive use of their own networks. The 5 per cent jump in Telstra's share price on Friday reflects the view that Telstra will be able to maintain its monopoly mobile coverage over 1.4 million square kilometres of Australia.

There are various estimates as to what this monopoly is worth but it ranges from $500 million to $1.4 billion in revenue benefits, according to independent analysts. Fears that this would be lost or reduced had put pressure on Telstra's share price.

The clear losers are Vodafone Hutchinson and TPG Telecom, which will not be able to pay a fee to use the regional networks of Telstra or Optus.

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

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