Villages shortlisted for 4G mobile blackspot program

Upper Lachlan Shire Council has supported the push by the Federal Government to improve mobile coverage across a number of communities. 

Four locations have been shortlisted for funding for the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program (MBSP) in Grabben Gullen, Bigga, Curraweela and Bannister (Range Road).

Signal boost: Gunning benefits from the installation of a 4G Telstra small cell, (L-R) Angus Taylor, John Stafford,John Bell and Merino Café staff member Chris Young. Photo supplied.

Signal boost: Gunning benefits from the installation of a 4G Telstra small cell, (L-R) Angus Taylor, John Stafford,John Bell and Merino Café staff member Chris Young. Photo supplied.

MBSP has extended applications for the funding until January 2019.

The Federal Member for Hume Angus Taylor said the four shortlisted sites in the Upper Lachlan Shire has had a lack of mobile coverage for many years.

In the past four years, Mr Taylor had secured funding for 21 towers in Hume under the MBSP.

Member for Goulburn Pru Goward said “My constituents have lobbied hard for communications investment of this kind, particularly due to the potential benefits to tourism, local economies and emergency services in times of need.” 

G-Spotter Antennas owner Dave Edworthy has worked with the earliest versions of 3G networks with the emergency services monitoring remote weather in Windellema. 

The technology has changed where it has really began to work effectively, Mr Edworthy said. 

“Every tower that has gone up from the blackspot program will be limited by the geography of where the tower is.”

However, the 4G technology enables phone calls over wifi whereas the old 3G network prioritised phone calls, 5G would be a progression from that. The technology has progressed where people can take phone calls over wifi. 

“The government will put up towers but they won’t fund people to get service individually.

“At the end of the day the technology is there for people to access the data.”

The reprieve for them is to use an antenna to get a single if not from a local tower, it can get a signal from 40 to 50 kilometres away.

There is a new tower at Golspie, and the tower at Crookwell does Telstra and Optus.

However, the Government recently announced that it would retain the use of Telstra copper and wireless networks in rural Australia for the provision of voice services in nbn fixed wireless and satellite areas.

There will continue to be a strong focus on service reliability.

The announcement followed research that showed rural and remote customers were concerned about moving away from the existing networks even though savings could be made in the delivery of voice services using new technologies.