Min­i­mal im­prove­ments for re­gion

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page - By Si­mon Rup­pert

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s Mo­bile Black Spot Pro­gram im­proved mo­bile cov­er­age in 36 re­gions across Aus­tralia last month, how­ever, Be­nalla and its sur­round­ing ar­eas have only seen min­i­mal up­grades.

Be­nalla is not listed as a pri­or­ity lo­ca­tion in the pro­gram, which is a con­cern to any­one liv­ing or work­ing in a black spot area, par­tic­u­larly with a se­vere fire sea­son pre­dicted.

Should a fire, or any type of emer­gency, oc­cur in a blackspot the time it takes for a per­son to get to a good sig­nal area to raise an alarm could cost lives.

Tel­stra has com­pleted base sta­tion up­grades in Myrrhee and Ta­tong in the past 12 months, and it ex­pects up­grades to be com­plete at Moyhu, Up­per Ryans Creek and Molyul­lah by next year.

This still leaves at least 17 black spots in the ar­eas sur­round­ing Be­nalla and it is un­clear when the nec­es­sary up­grades will take place.

Fed­eral Min­is­ter for Re­gional Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Fiona Nash an­nounced the fi­nal round of im­prove­ments last week.

‘‘The build­ing of the Coali­tion’s 765 new or im­proved mo­bile phone tow­ers has re­ally ramped up now,’’ Ms Nash said.

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

‘‘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.

‘‘We’ve got every avail­able set of hands in Aus­tralia busy de­liv­er­ing th­ese mo­bile phone com­pan- tow­ers by the end of next year.’’

Which tow­ers Ms Nash is talk­ing about when promis­ing com­ple­tion by the end of next year is un­clear.

Op­tus and voda­fone have no plans to up­grade ex­ist­ing tow­ers or build new ones in the Be­nalla area, ac­cord­ing to their re­spec­tive black-spot up­grade maps.

Tel­stra’s on­line black-spot map shows no plans to build or up­grade any tow­ers af­ter work in Moyhu, Up­per Ryans Creek and Molyul­lah is com­plete.

The com­pet­i­tive process for a fur­ther round of fund­ing to ad­dress other pri­or­ity black spots will start later this year.

So it seems that peo­ple liv­ing in and around Be­nalla will have to ac­cept that there will be mo­bile black spots in the area for at least the near fu­ture.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the gov­ern­ment’s mo­bile blackspot pro­gram, visit www.com­mu­ni­ca­tions.gov.au/ mbsp

Black spots: This map from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s Depart­ment of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and the Arts web­site shows how many black-spots still re­main in the lo­cal area.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.