• Tony Bosworth

BLOR, Bowen Mountain, Kurrajong Heights, Mountain Lagoon – Hawkesbury’s worst mobile black spots

Hundreds of residents have responded to a mobile black spot survey since it went live last month, revealing Bells Line of Road, Bowen Mountain, Kurrajong Heights, and Mountain Lagoon to be the Hawkesbury’s worst black spots for mobile reception.

Massive black holes in Hawkesbury’s mobile coverage have been revealed by a new heatmap, created with survey data gathered by Macquarie MP, Susan Templeman.

The heatmap will be handed to telecommunications companies ahead of the next round of federal funding, in a bid to secure improved mobile coverage in the region.

“Those who responded to the survey are overwhelmingly concerned with the implications of poor coverage in emergency situations like bushfires or illness,” Ms Templeman said.

“People who battled last year’s devastating bushfires have told me of the problems in organising crews during the crisis because they didn’t have mobile coverage, and other residents expressed concern for the wellbeing of elderly residents whose personal alarms only get weak signals.

“I had a carer tell me she has to leave her elderly patient and drive two kilometres to get phone coverage because not only is there no mobile reception but the landline is also unreliable.

“People told me of the difficulties they face running their business or working from home. Some who responded said they had been told they could purchase expensive equipment to improve the mobile service, but even if they did this, it wasn’t always effective.

“Those who responded generally feel they are unfairly paying for a service they simply aren’t receiving, and several believe their reception is worse now than it was years ago.

Macquarie MP Susan Templeman will present telcos with information on mobile coverage in the Hawkesbury ahead of the next Mobile Black Spot Program funding round.

“I would like to express my thanks to all those who responded to the survey. It has provided detailed, accurate, practical information that I can use as evidence to prove the Hawkesbury is missing out on basic services.

“Telcos need to apply for funding under the next round of the Mobile Black Spot Program by March 5 to obtain funding for new mobile towers and other signal boost technology, and I am putting this information together to present to them in February.

“I will also be presenting the information directly to the government via Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, including to highlight problem areas not eligible for the current funding.

“Shadow Minister Michelle Rowland has been informed of the survey results and, having visited last year, is very supportive of the Hawkesbury’s push for better services.

“I certainly welcome previous black spot funding – for example, that provided under the last round that will see mobile towers operating at Central Colo, Colo and Putty – but it’s just the first step.

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease, so the saying goes, and I will continue to loudly advocate for residents of the Hawkesbury to be given the basic services they need and deserve.”

Responses to the survey can be provided until the 5 February. Visit https://susantempleman.com.au/campaigns/mobile-blackspots/

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