Op­tus steps up where Tel­stra is drag­ging the tower chain

Mansfield Courier - - NEWS - By BELLA MACMUNN

FOL­LOW­ING re­cent is­sues with Tel­stra fail­ing to build mo­bile cov­er­age tow­ers in ru­ral ar­eas, the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment is part­ner­ing with Op­tus to build 25 new tow­ers through­out re­gional Vic­to­ria.

Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­fra­struc­ture is cru­cial for the growth, live­abil­ity and safety of re­gional Vic­to­rian house­holds and busi­nesses, and more will be con­nected than ever be­fore.

The fund­ing comes as Vic­to­ria looks set to be short­changed in the lat­est round of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s Mo­bile Black Spot Pro­gram (MBSP) due largely to a se­vere lack of con­sul­ta­tion.

A list of pro­posed sites re­leased by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment in­di­cates that just 19 of the 125 tow­ers that will be funded un­der round three of the MBSP will be in Vic­to­ria.

Due to this ne­glect the gov­ern­ment has sought out other op­por­tu­ni­ties to help con­nect re­gional Vic­to­ria.

“Those liv­ing in re­gional Vic­to­ria de­serve bet­ter mo­bile cov­er­age in their homes, work­places and while they travel, and we thank Op­tus for help­ing us get on with the job of de­liv­er­ing it,” Min­is­ter for In­no­va­tion and the Dig­i­tal Econ­omy Philip Dal­i­dakis said.

“We’ve in­vested al­most $31 mil­lion in new mo­bile tow­ers across Vic­to­ria, con­nect­ing 20,000 premises that pre­vi­ously had poor or no mo­bile cov­er­age.”

Lo­ca­tions of mo­bile tow­ers co-funded by the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment and Op­tus in­clude: 1 x Ararat – Pomonal; 2 x Baw Baw – Thor­p­dale and Wil­low Grove; 3 x Cam­paspe – Gir­garre, Nan­neella and Wharpilla; 1 x Car­dinia – Mary­knoll; 1 x Co­lac-Ot­way – Ken­nett River; 1 x Co­rangamite – Port Camp­bell North; 3 x Golden Plains – Tees­dale, Cape Clear and Had­don North; 1 x Hor­sham – Lower Nor­ton; 1 x Indigo – Yackan­dan­dah North; 2 x Mace­don Ranges – Edge­combe and Mo­negeetta; 3 x Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula – Tuerong, Tuerong West and Main Ridge West; 3 x Moyne – Winslow, Wool­sthorpe and Hawkes­dale; 1 x South Gipp­s­land – Leon­gatha South; 1 x Yarra Ranges – Badger Creek; 1 x Yar­ri­ambi­ack – Brim. While all of th­ese tow­ers are be­ing erected through­out Vic­to­ria, Mans­field district’s mo­bile cov­er­age re­mains patchy.

De­spite Tel­stra’s prom­ise to have mo­bile cov­er­age at Sawmill Set­tle­ment, Tolmie, Goughs Bay, An­cona and Woods Point by Christ­mas, con­struc­tion has not started.

Res­i­dents of th­ese ar­eas are wor­ried about the up­com­ing bush­fire sea­son, which looks set to be a bad one.

With no mo­bile cov­er­age in th­ese ar­eas, the bush­fire threat is more dan­ger­ous.

* Mans­field and district cit­i­zens hope Tel­stra can get their act to­gether be­fore dis­as­ter strikes.

PHOTO: Wendy Hunt

IM­PROV­ING THE EX­PE­RI­ENCE: Pres­i­dent of Mans­field Bowls Club, John Foots, stands in front of the shel­ter which will be up­graded, thanks to a gov­ern­ment grant.

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