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Major infrastructre planned to tackle mobile black spots

19 Sep 2017

A MAJOR mobile phone provider is moving to improve reception coverage on a notorious stretch of highway in the Somerset region known as a mobile phone black spot.

Somerset Regional Council has approved for a new Optus telecommunications tower to be built at Moore in response to "significant coverage problems" on the D'Aguilar Hwy.

The proposal, in the Benarkin State Forest, is part of a nationwide rollout to improve mobile coverage and access to enhanced services via the Optus mobile network in rural areas across Australia.

While some tree clearing is needed to make way for the 60m high tower, a certified spotter and catcher will be on site to make arrangements for displaced furry friends and koala exclusion panelling will be installed on the facility boundary fencing to prevent koala access to the compound.

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Sulphur Creek telecommunications tower proposal

19 Sep 2017

A new telecommunications tower at Sulphur Creek will be discussed at the Central Coast Council meeting on Monday night.

The proposed location for the new Telstra tower is 39 Creamery Road, Sulphur Creek.

The 30 metre high mono pole tower would be funded under the Federal Government Black Spot Program.

The new tower would provide capacity relief to the existing Telstra site and enable the company to deliver higher speed 4G mobile phone services.

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Superloop grows fixed wireless footprint with NuSkope buy

14 Sep 2017

Superloop is shaping as a major player in the fixed wireless space, spending up to $12 million on South Australian network operator NuSkope and outlining ambitions to offer millimetre-wave broadband.

Serial entrepreneur Bevan Slattery’s connectivity venture Superloop now has both BigAir and NuSkope in its fold.

BigAir’s fixed wireless Ethernet services target business users with symmetrical speed offerings; NuSkope connects about 10,000 homes, schools and businesses in the Adelaide metropolitan area and its fringes which were traditionally under-served.

Superloop said it had offered over $10 million for NuSkope, consisting of an initial $7 million in cash and $3 million in shares, and further cash payments split over 2018/19 that are dependent on future revenues.

The total consideration is expected to be somewhere just under $12 million.

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Australian regulator fast-tracking upcoming 5G auction at super-high frequency

13 Sep 2017

Australia might be getting access to 5G data speeds sooner than expected with the communications regulator fast-tracking preparations to auction the necessary spectrum off to mobile network operators.

Speeding up the long process may bring forward revenue for the government, but also the capital expenditure costs for mobile network operators like Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and TPG.

Spectrum auctions have reaped at least $3.5 billion since 2013, including world-record prices spent on lower frequencies, which are more valuable to Australian operators because they carry signals further and with better penetration.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority on Monday revealed it is speeding up the process to release and sell part of the spectrum for 5G services - at the 26 gigahertz (GHz) frequency - which is currently reserved for fixed communications, space-to-earth signals and radio astronomy.

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Residents fear a second phone tower near their properties will pose health risks and devalue properties

07 Sep 2017

BRISBANE residents fear a second phone tower on a residential block will bring health concerns and devalue their properties.

An application for a 30m telecommunications tower on Greencamp Rd at Wakerley, near Brisbane’s bayside, was submitted to Brisbane City Council earlier this year.

One resident, who asked not be named, said they were concerned because there was a telecommunications tower nearby.

“We didn’t object to the first one … because we understood the need for one, but we don’t want a second one,” the resident said.

The land is owned by Solomon Soner, principal at Team Solomon Estate Agents at Cleveland, who said the tower was needed.

“If it’s not there, then it’s going to be next to somewhere else,” Mr Soner said.

THE resident questioned council’s planning laws.

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End of August Update

06 Sep 2017

Optus continues its staggering new tower deployment with a further 32 new sites 13 alone in NSW.  9 of these new sites are also small cell sites most likely with satellite backhaul, 5 of which were located along the west coast of WA and the remaining 4 up the Stuart Hwy in NT. Optus also managed 51 site upgrades with 19 in VIC and 10 in NSW the upgrades consisted mostly of 4G2600 and 4G2100 which is most likely being be deployed for capacity and congestion relief. Optus is also proposing a bunch of 4G1800 upgrades signalling the beginning of its rural 4G1800 rollout.

Telstra continues to plod along with 14 new sites with a couple sites being 4G only suggesting it may well be small cell sites.  Telstra upgraded 87 sites also almost all of which were in the eastern states, the upgrades consisted mostly of 4G700 but also included a mix of higher bands on some sites.

Vodafone appears to have kicked off its latest upgrade spend with 15 new sites, almost all of which were either Optus sites or in conjunction with Optus. Vodafone also upgraded 50 sites mostly with 4G2100 which would be to add capacity to those towers. A small number of towers got upgrades with bands such as 4G850 and 4G1800.

NBN activated 7 new sites and upgraded a further 8 sites. NBN is still proposing new sites with this fortnight adding 2 new rural site proposals.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has seen the biggest change in some time with the gap narrowing by 38 sites as Optus appears to be shifting focus away and Telstra continues to plod along. Optus is however still ahead of Telstra in 4G700 by 1051 sites.

Ovo's 100GB mobile plan could compete with NBN

06 Sep 2017

Ovo Mobile has created what it claims to be Australia's largest prepaid mobile data plan, offering 100GB of data for $100 per month.

The telco pitched the plan as an alternative to fixed broadband services on the NBN, claiming to offer faster and more reliable speeds than some fixed broadband services for households.

Ovo has set up a free geo-based speed test website called to determine whether mobile broadband is superior to a fixed service in their area.

"Despite the billions being spent on upgrading Australia's fixed broadband infrastructure, it remains slow and expensive by international standards," said chief executive Matt Jones.

"And I speak as one of the many, many Australians who are sick of hearing about why that is and who's to blame – we just want it to work, where and when we want it."

Ovo said contracts are not locked in, and are charged on a 30-day cycle. The telco's services use Optus's 4G mobile network.

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No limits on telcos as slice of 5G spectrum auctioned

06 Sep 2017

But 4G restrictions remain.

Australia’s four mobile operators will soon have a chance to snap up some spectrum to advance their 5G plans.

Acting on advice from the ACCC, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield today said there would be no restrictions placed on the ability of any carrier to bid for the 3.4 GHz spectrum on offer.

One reason for this is likely to be practical; the ACCC noted in its advice that the "3.4-3.8 GHz bands have been identified internationally as highly suitable for early 5G deployment".

“As such, we consider the bands as direct substitutes,” it said.

The government is already looking at a separate 3.6 GHz spectrum auction.

5G spectrum has been a debate topic in recent months. The bands being considered for use internationally are mostly used now by fixed wireless operators, including NBN Co.

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Palaszczuk Government invests in digital infrastructure

05 Sep 2017

The Palaszczuk Government’s ongoing investment in digital infrastructure is improving the lives of Queenslanders, Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said today (Tuesday).

Ms Enoch said the new infrastructure is connecting the state’s regions, communities and businesses to the digital economy.

“In Australia the digital economy is worth $79 billion and is rapidly transforming the way we work and live,” Ms Enoch said.

“It is vital that we have the digital infrastructure in place to enable all Queenslanders to realise the opportunities available to them in the global digital economy.

“Unlike the lazy Newman-Nicholls LNP Government, we are working with all levels of government, as well as telecommunications providers, local communities and industry to make a real difference to communities across the state.”

Ms Enoch - as Ministerial Champion for the Wujal Wujal Community in Far North Queensland – recently announced council was awarded $1.1 million through the government’s Works for Queensland program.

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MP pushes for mandatory standby power for mobile towers

05 Sep 2017

Nick Xenophon Team MP Rebekha Sharkie has introduced a private members bill that would compel telcos to ensure 24-hour standby power is available for cell towers in parts of Australia that are at high risk of bushfires.

The bill “seeks to ensure vulnerable communities in high bushfire risk areas can use their mobile phones for the critical 24 hours after a blackout,” the member for the seat of Mayo in South Australia said while introducing the bill this morning in the House of Representatives.

The provisions of the  Telecommunications Amendment (Guaranteeing Mobile Phone Service in Bushfire Zones) Bill 2017 would task Emergency Management Australia with identifying high-risk bushfire communities.

“In determining whether a community is a high-risk bushfire community, Emergency Management Australia must have regard to existing State and Territory planning laws that are relevant to bushfire risk,” states the bill’s explanatory memorandum.

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