Internet & Mobile Phone access

Upon the suggestion of members at the March meeting we wrote to Malcolm Turnbull, the then Minister for Communications seeking his assistance with internet and mobile phone access on the island (click here to view this letter).

We stressed:

  • The difficulties face by our emergency services with mobile phone blackspots, and the public health and safety issues this posed.
  • The lack of internet services for not only households, but small businesses operating from the island – particularly where there is no no alternative mobile phone tower internet option (blackspots).
    • The lack of any plans by either Telstra or NBN Co to provide upgraded communications services.
    • We’ve had a very encouraging response (two in fact, click here and here to view these). In summary:
    • Re copper wire broadband availability: Telstra plans to increase its capacity at the Brooklyn exchange in October 2015. Residents can go on a waiting list for one of the new ports when they become available
    • NBN: Scheduled for ‘brownfields fixed line’ coverage in the next 18 months (and the Schedule actually nominates the first half of 2016).
    • Re mobile blackspot. There is a program for this, and a new base station is being installed at Sackville, but this is unlikely to fix our issue. But we can ‘register’ ourselves in the Blackspot Program. Another option is the Telstra 4G mini base stations. Telstra and the Govt are planning to install about 200 of these. They have a range of 200-300m, and support data only at this stage but will support voice in the very near future. This could be just the ticket for our (relatively small but critical) mobile blackspot issue.

Something for the new DIL Committee to pursue asap.