Mobile coverage boost for bushfire hit area on Capricorn Coast
CAPRICORN Coast residents and visitors alike are revelling after mobile phone coverage was boosted in the area devastated by last year’s Cobrabull bushfire.
The recently turned on new mobile base station, which will significantly improve phone service, is expected to provide new and improved 3G and 4G mobile coverage for areas of Bungundarra, Woodbury and Farnborough.
This includes more than 50 square kilometres of new handheld coverage to the benefit of more than 285 premises.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the switch on of the new mobile base station in Bungundarra under the Mobile Black Spot Program reflected his government’s commitment to further improving connectivity in the regions.
“People living, working and travelling in Livingstone Shire will now have better mobile coverage. This is especially important following this summer’s devastating bushfires,” Mr Fletcher said.
He said the Mobile Black Spot Program provided an alternative communications option if another network goes down during an emergency.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry was pleased residents and businesses would have better service in more locations.
“Locals have raised the issue of poor service in Bungundarra,” Ms Landry said.
“The improved mobile coverage will hopefully go a long way in assisting locals and emergency personnel during natural disasters, especially during events like the bushfires in Bungundarra last year.
“The new mobile base station was completed by Optus and is the latest site in Capricornia to receive new or improved mobile coverage under the program.”
The program has funded 1229 mobile base stations with more than 820 of these on air.
Optus’ Vice President of Regulatory and Public Affairs Andrew Sheridan said they were thrilled to work with the Federal and Queensland Government on the project.
“It not only means greater safety for those living, working and driving through this area by unlocking access to communication but also helps to facilitate contact with family and friends,” Mr Sheridan.
“This site will enable valuable opportunities for the local community, allowing regional Queensland to remain competitive with access to the same resources as the rest of Australia. Competition is not only essential for the economy, but also great for the community, with this new site providing customers with better choice and value.
“We know how important access to reliable mobile coverage is for those living and working across regional Australia, and right now it is more critical than ever. It’s a certainly a bonus to be delivering this boost at such a crucial time when many families are currently in isolation and staying connected is essential for education, business and personal reasons.”
This macro cell base station, jointly funded by the Federal Government, Optus and the Queensland Government under Round 2 of the Mobile Black Spot Program, is co-located on the NBN tower in Bungundarra.
Livingstone Shire mayor Andy Ireland said it was always pleasing to see investment in rural areas to improve communication capability.
“This funding will undoubtedly assist residents and local emergency services especially during events like the Cobraball bushfires,” Cr Ireland said.
“Council would like to thank the Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry and the Australian Government for securing this important funding to improve services in Bungundarra.”
Minister for Regional Communications Mark Coulton said the Coalition Government was committed to improving connectivity for people living in regional and rural areas.
“The improved service is thanks to the Liberal and Nationals Government’s $380 million Mobile Black Spot Program, which is eradicating phone black spots across Capricornia,” Mr Coulton said.
“This Government knows how frustrating it is to be talking on the phone or browsing the internet and then lose service, so we’re getting on with the job of building more phone towers to deliver better service.
“Not only will these towers make it easier for people to stay connected to family and friends, it will also make it easier to do business and access education.”
Minister Coulton said more than 40,000 Triple 0 calls had so far been made possible through the Mobile Black Spot Program.