Reception issues plaguing towns

Brinkworth's Lee Motley said phone reception was so bad in the town she had to sit in a specific spot to get two bars of service on her mobile.
Brinkworth's Lee Motley said phone reception was so bad in the town she had to sit in a specific spot to get two bars of service on her mobile.

The federal government announced on Wednesday the commencement of the tender process for the latest round of funding in the mobile black spot program.

This is the third round of funding for the program which has already seen the government pledge $160 million. A further $60 million will be added in round three.

During the 2016 federal election campaign, 125 priority mobile blackspot locations were announced. One of those priority locations was Robertstown.

The residents of Robertstown have repeatedly lost their landline service this year, with the last loss in early November the fifth outage in the space of two months.

An estimated average loss of service for the area is up to two days and has been an ongoing issue since July.

Residents have become so fed up with the outages that they have challenged Telstra to address the issue by November 28 or they will refuse to pay their phone bills.

Bob Lamb, a Robertstown resident, said that Telstra had denied there was a problem when complaints were made to the telecommunication giant.

“We are dismayed to learn that Telstra will compensate dissatisfied NBN customers while we are expected to grin and bear our loss of landline,” he said.

“Complaints to Telstra have been met with total denial of a loss of service or claims that the problem exists in the residents own phone, when the entire district is out.

“We do not believe that Telstra is ignorant of the problem or the cause.”

Phone and landline issues are not just restricted to Robertstown, with problems also rife north-west of the Clare Valley.

Brinkworth has also experienced issues with phone reception.

Much like their counterparts in Robertstown, members of the Brinkworth community petitioned Telstra to fix the ongoing issues, however their pleas fell on deaf ears.

Lee Motley has lived in Brinkworth for seven years and said that phone reception had plagued the town since she first moved in.

“Unless I am sitting on a specific lounge I will not get reception,” she said.

“I do not get reception in the kitchen, dinning room, any of the bedrooms.

“It is usually only one or two bars, that is it. It is very patchy, and it is ridiculous that in this day and age we cannot make a phone call.”

It was not until a few days after Ms Motley moved in that she was informed her house lay within a mobile blackspot. She said she recently tried to lodge a complaint with Telstra regarding the issues, however lost reception halfway through.

Telstra had advised residents of Brinkworth to head online and inform them of their ongoing issues but with reception being so inconsistent, most have trouble accessing the internet.

Ms Motley said that ultimately, she just wanted mobile phone coverage.

“Something needs to change,” she said.

“They need to get something out here.”