The community’s campaign for better mobile phone coverage in parts of the Illawarra has had some success with the announcement that the Cunningham electorate has received $632,000 in funding under the Mobile Black Spot Program, including $26,000 from the Federal Government.
In March 2014, we encouraged the community to let us know where they were experiencing problems with mobile phone coverage.
“We received feedback from the community wrote to the Department of Communications indicated that there were a number of areas in the Illawarra that received poor mobile phone coverage.
In October 2014, 17 areas in Cunningham and Throsby were included on the Mobile BlackSpot Program database and we called on the Minister to guarantee that these areas would be funded.
It was announced today that there will be one new basestation in Coalcliff that will address four of these mobile black spots – Bundeena, Coalcliff, Helensburgh and the Picton Road (between Fire Road intersection and Mount Ousley Road).
“While it is important that these four areas have been funded – there are still a number of important transport corridors that need attention. Particularly, Bulli Pass and the Illawarra Rail line (between Wollongong and Sydney) experience little or no coverage and are important corridors for our local region,” Sharon Bird said.
“These areas are heavily utilised by commuters and freight and better reception is needed in case of fire, accidents and other emergencies.
“I know that residents in the northern suburbs also are very frustrated with mobile phone coverage and internet access.
“Like the Abbott Government’s roll-out of the NBN, they are also doing less than half the job with the Mobile Black Spot Program.
Stephen Jones said it was disappointing that not one of the seven mobile blackspots in Throsby would see improvements.
“Access to a quality mobile connection is still a major issue for many isolated communities in the region, particularly in Southern Highlands. Residents in places like Exeter are set to lose out again.
“It is troubling that Mount Murray and Yellow Rock will remain without reception. Macquarie Pass has a windy road that can cause car crashes, it can also be affected by rock falls and mud slides. Surely a location such as that needs mobile reception in the event of an emergency?
“It really is time that Malcolm Turnbull gave these areas the attention they deserve.”
“We will be writing to the Minister to follow up on the areas that have not received funding and to lobby for their inclusion in future rounds,” Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones concluded.
Areas not funded under the program: