Mobile black spots need urgent attention

Mobile black spots need urgent attention

Haynes couple Blake Foster and Danielle Smith (front) and Federal Member for Burt Matt Keogh and State Member for Armadale Tony Buti. Mr Foster and Ms Smith are fed up with poor mobile reception in their suburb. Photograph — Matt Devlin.

Fed up Haynes and Hilbert residents along with Federal Member for Burt Matt Keogh and State Member for Armadale Tony Buti are petitioning the Federal Government to prioritise a new mobile phone tower in the area after months of poor reception.

Haynes couple Blake Foster and Danielle Smith have phones with both Optus and Telstra and said when they moved into their home 12 months ago they had ok reception but that changed in January.

Despite Optus and Telstra maps showing 4G coverage right across Haynes their coverage was so poor Telstra installed an antennae in their house.

Mr Foster said having good mobile reception in an outer metropolitan suburb was especially important for them because Ms Smith was pregnant.

He said neighbours were experiencing the same issues.

“We’ve contacted about 40 or 50 people around here that have issues as well,” he said.

Mr Keogh and Dr Buti said the petition calls on the government to fund a base station in Haynes or Hilbert through the federal mobile black spot program.

“These are rapidly growing suburbs yet already residents are struggling to get mobile reception from their own backyards,” he said.

“Haynes and Hilbert are eligible for a Federal Government-funded base station under the mobile black spot program but once again the south-east has been ignored.

“We’re calling on the Turnbull Government and Telstra to step up and build a base station”

Dr Buti said with many Haynes residents living in bushfire prone areas, the failure to provide good mobile coverage put lives at risk.

A spokesman for Regional Communications Minister Fiona Nash said the Labor Party spent $0 on mobile phone coverage in its six years of government.

“If Labor was really concerned about mobile phone coverage, it would’ve acted when in government.

“The Coalition Government is investing $220 million into its mobile black spot program to improve mobile phone reception.”

Under the program the public report black spots and telcos put forward bids to build towers.

The neighbouring suburbs of Darling Downs and Oakford have been reported as black spot areas.

The telcos say everything was fine or would be fine in the near future.

Telstra area general manager Boyd Brown said it had invested significant resources into developing and enhancing the mobile network in Hilbert and Haynes.

“There are currently five mobile base stations servicing these areas which provides 3G and 4GX coverage,” he said.

He said there were a number of factors which could affect mobile coverage at a property including building materials, handsets and the use of illegal repeaters.

A Vodafone spokeswoman said it was working toward turning on a site in Brookdale by the end of the month and had plans to build new sites in Hilbert, Oakford East, Byford North and Bedfordale North.

An Optus spokeswoman said it had planned upgrades to a number of sites in the Armadale area in the coming months.

Mr Keogh and Dr Buti will be doorknocking Haynes over the next month to gather signatures and copies of the petition would be available at their offices in Kelmscott.

The petition was expected to be tabled in parliament before the end of the year.