Residents demand action on spotty mobile phone coverage
WHEN customers pay for a service, they expect the service to work.
But Helidon Progress Association president Kameron Jeffrey said that’s not what’s happening in the Lockyer and Brisbane valleys.
The association has launched a campaign to pressure the three major telecommunications providers -– Telstra, Optus and Vodafone – and all levels of government to improve intermittent mobile phone service in the region.
Mr Jeffrey said the unreliable service was letting down the region.
“For us to be able to future-proof our region, mobile phone coverage is a very basic necessity,” he said.
There are no requirements for carriers to ensure adequate delivery of mobile services, though there are obligations on carriers to ensure landline connections and payphone access, which is subsidised by the Federal Government.
A statement from the Department of Communication and Arts said it cannot enforce mobile delivery but initiatives like the Mobile Black Spot Program would encourage investment and competition.
However, a Vodafone spokesperson said residents were paying due to a lack of regional mobile competition.
Their proposed solution was domestic roaming, which would enable customers to connect to any tower.
Even then, it might not be that simple, said Somerset resident and IT professional Paul Heymans.
“Wireless technology is not going to be as reliable that’s the nature of the beast,” he said.
All three carriers have invested in new equipment around the region, but Mr Heymans said spotty reception could be put down to a number of factors outside the operators’ control, including terrain, weather and home design.
He also noted, as did spokespeople from Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and the federal government, that it was simply too expensive to ensure coverage in all areas, particularly those with a lower population density.
Due to these issues, Mr Jeffrey is worried his town will be left behind in the mobile age, a concern shared by Lockyer Valley Mayor Tanya Milligan.
Both Lockyer Valley and Somerset mayors welcomed residents to use free wifi at various council facilities.
But Mr Jeffrey maintains residents are being let down.
“Nobody said it has to be perfect, but we do expect reliable and consistent coverage,” he said.
“Without that, we as paying customers are paying for a service that’s not guaranteed and that’s not right.”
NO SERVICE: Briony Sommers and Kameron Jeffrey believe the lack of reliable mobile reception in the Valley is a serious problem.
NO SIGNAL: Briony Sommers and Kameron Jeffrey struggle with service.