Mobile coverage: Residents call for action sooner rather than later

SERVICE: Support is being thrown behind national roaming to avoid future mobile service glitches.

SERVICE: Support is being thrown behind national roaming to avoid future mobile service glitches.

Northern Grampians residents have spoken in favour of regulated national roaming which could see Telstra, Optus and Vodafone sharing their networks.

The move would ensure residents can pick up a signal from the nearest tower, regardless of which telco built it.

Landsborough resident and Glenkara Vineyard manager Ian O’Brien said anything to improve mobile service in the area would be supported.

“We would support anything that would make our lives that little bit easier,” he said.

“It would be a big help to everyone in the district, we definitely get used to living without reception in Landsborough, but it’s time we see some action sooner rather than later.”

Member for Mallee Andrew Broad also spoke out in favour of regulated national roaming.

“I think if we are going to prepare for the future, we need to ensure that if you are driving down the road and your phone can pick up a Telstra tower, it does; if it can pick up an Optus tower, it does; if it can pick up a Vodafone tower, it does,” he said.

“It is time that these companies put their heads together to work out how they can share the network, rather than double building right across Australia.”

Mr Broad said the arguments against regulated roaming of mobile services did not hold water when the safety and viability of regional Australia was in question.

“Right across the country, people are struggling to make mobile phone calls and to access data. These are safety, tourism and business issues,” he said.

“If I look across the Mallee electorate, which is a third of Victoria, Telstra has not built a tower in four years that has not been subsidised by the Federal Government’s Mobile Blackspot Program.

“It is time for a forward thinking approach that embraces new communication technology, one that sees governments investing money in networks that make mobile blackspots a thing of the past.” A Telstra glitch sent personal messages to random recipients in Australia, including Stawell, after a fire disrupted services at an exchange on February 2. 

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