Linville in need to blackspot funding for mobile phone service
Category : General News
Given the serious fire situation experienced by Linville residents over the past few days, it is now imperative that this area of our region should be recognised as an area that must be serviced by mobile phone coverage.
This is also an area that suffers badly from flood events, and the lack of mobile phone service can no longer be tolerated. The area has also become very popular with many users on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail and numerous campers.
On behalf of the Linville residents and the visiting population, I wish to move that Somerset Regional Council write to the Federal Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher raising these concerns and ask that this area be funded under the communication blackspot funding provisions, as soon as practical.
Please find attached a coverage map that shows (in green) our fixed wireless network that covers parts of Linville. This is from the tower at Moore. Due to topography, we are not able to cover the whole of Linville, however, our Sky Muster satellite is available for these areas (not shaded). Not all retailers sell our SkyMuster satellite service so many times, we are hearing that Retailers are advising residents that there is no nbn available which in fact is not the case, they have chosen to not sell the satellite network.
In relation to the mobile connectivity, this is not part of the nbn rollout but given the topography of the area, I could assume that there are blackspots in this location.
Media around this issue:
RESIDENTS in a small Somerset township say they can’t even get cell-phone reception on the main street at times, and it’s creating a serious safety problem.
Linville is home to 400 people, and long term residents Gail Bawden said the service in town is patchy at best.
“It’s non-existent in some areas and this is the main street of town,” Ms Bawden said.
“The problem is we have a lot of elderly residents and it’s a safety issue for people not having any sort of coverage.
“We are in a high fire risk area… and communication is really important in this area.”
Gail knows the issues first hand, as she can’t make or receive phone calls in her own home.
“We have to go into the backyard to get a phone call or to get internet connection,” she said.
Telstra is the only provider that covers the area.
This compounds the already shaky connection, especially for users of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, which runs through the town.
“We get a lot of visitors into town (from it) and they can’t contact family or anybody else if they have issues,” Ms Bawden said.
Rail trail users and Linville locals are fed up with issues, and presented a petition to Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann calling on him to advocate for improved telecommunications services.
As a result, Mr Neumann wrote to the federal Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher, raising the concerns in July.
But he has to date received no response, and slammed the lack of action.
“It is completely unacceptable the people of Linville and Brisbane Valley Rail Trail users have a lack of mobile coverage,” Mr Neumann said.
“These people need and deserve adequate service and it is disgraceful the Minister has not had enough respect for these people to respond to my July letter to him”
Mr Neumann also referenced the flooding experienced by the Somerset Region in 2011 and 2013 in his letter to Mr Fletcher.
“A significant portion of the Somerset region was isolated by flooding in 2011 and 2013,” he said.
“I witnessed this isolation first hand and residents expressed to me their grave concerns about how they will contact family and emergency services when a natural disaster hits in the future.”
Mr Neumann said despite receiving no response from the minister, he would continue to fight for residents on the issue.