Macro base station at Ashbourne to improve mobile phone coverage

Better mobile coverage will be received in Ashbourne once a new base station is built. Photo: File.
Better mobile coverage will be received in Ashbourne once a new base station is built. Photo: File.

Residents can expect better mobile coverage around Ashbourne next year, as the federal government has announced funding for a macro base station in the town.

The station, along with 101 others across the country, will be built or improved by Telstra from June 2019 through the third round of the government’s Mobile Black Spot program.

Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie said Regional Communications Minister Bridget McKenzie’s announcement of the funding was “fantastic news” for the community, which desperately needed better coverage.

“I also welcome the minister’s news that the funding for these priority locations will also provide for at least 12 hours of back-up power at each macro base station to help ensure mobile coverage is not lost in the event of a power outage,” she said.

“This is only half of the 24-hour back-up power outlined in the Private Member’s Bill I introduced into the parliament last year, but it is certainly a step forward from the three to four hours’ battery back-up our communities currently have.”

Telstra’s South Australian area general manager Mark Bolton looked forward to providing improved coverage across the state.

“We know the important role mobile technology plays in helping people stay in contact with friends and family, and run businesses effectively,” he said.

“Telstra will be constructing an additional six mobile base station sites in South Australia and improving coverage at 89 sites across Australia.”

Ms Sharkie hoped the government would fund further rounds of the program, as this latest round was the last to be announced but there were still “so many areas” in the electorate which did not receive reliable mobile phone coverage.

“In the interest of public safety, this federal government must fund further rounds of the Mobile Phone Black Spot program, and I will be making it a priority to advocate for this leading up to the 2018-19 federal budget,” she said.

“Mobile coverage has become so essential for our safety, for work, education and social connection that we need to make sure our communities are better serviced, and if that means more financial incentives for telecommunication companies, then we must continue the Black Spot program.”

It is certainly a step forward from the three to four hours’ battery back-up our communities currently have.

Rebekha Sharkie, Member for Mayo