No calls for Dumbalk

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No calls for Dumbalk

Do not call: Sharelle Paul from Dumbalk is fed up with the lack of mobile phone reception in the town and would like to see action taken.

DESPITE the possibility of an NBN tower being placed in Dumbalk, the town looks to be without adequate mobile phone service.

Residents have been battling for better mobile phone service for more than 15 years, stifling development of the town.

Sharelle Paul works at the Dumbalk Village Store and said there is a small spot on the balcony where people can stand to make a phone call.

“It’s shocking, it is really bad. We can’t get reception unless we go out on to the balcony of the shop or resort to waving the phone around to find service,” she said.

“People who come in to the store are often complaining about the lack of service or being cut off halfway through a call.

“We point them to the corner of the balcony where they may have better luck, if it is a good day.”

Ms Paul lives in Dumbalk and has to keep her home landline connected, which costs around $23 a month just for line rental, as she has no reception in her home either.

“Unless I am standing right in front of my fireplace, I can’t use my mobile at home. I wouldn’t have a landline, but because my mobile doesn’t have any reception I have to keep it on,” she said.

“I try not to use it too much, but I have a three-year-old daughter, so I wouldn’t be able to have no phone. It just makes life a bit harder.

“A tower would be very nice; I have reps come through the store that can’t send orders sometimes because there is no service.”

Loretta Willaton, Telstra area general manager for Gippsland, recently confirmed there are no plans to build a mobile tower in the area of Dumbalk.

“There are significant costs involved, which can vary, especially in areas with challenging topography,” she said.

“There are also associated costs in building the mobile network which are significant outside of the pole itself.

“The terrain around Dumbalk makes it difficult to provide the breadth and depth of coverage needed from one tower, but we do have some coverage feeding the towns from Foster North, Koonwarra and Mirboo North.”

Ms Willaton said Telstra has been approached by the South Gippsland Shire Council regarding the possibility of co-location with an NBN tower.

“We have had notification of the possibility of an NBN tower being placed in Dumbalk and there is scope there for co-location,” she said.

“However, given the position of the tower, it is unlikely that the coverage provided would be significant and places like Dollar, Nerrena and Dumbalk North would still lack service.

“There are number of factors in determining the right location for a mobile tower to increase the possibility of getting the right coverage impacts.”

Poor mobile phone reception has long been an issue at Dumbalk, where lives could be put at risk, with residents unable to phone emergency services in the event of an accident unless they have access to landline.

A spokesperson for Deputy Premier and Gippsland South MLA Peter Ryan said the State Government continues to urge the Federal Government to act on mobile phone blackspots, particularly in regional and rural Victoria.

“Minister Ryan has previously written to Nicola Roxon on this matter and has recently written to Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, to urge him to consider the safety of Victorian communities,” the spokesperson said.

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Posted by on Feb 5 2013. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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