The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, has responded to calls to clarify the upgraded mobile phone coverage for Woorinen South.
Mr Walsh said this week’s announcement the town – caught in one of regional Victoria’s most notorious blackspots – would be getting a small cell 4G station to solve its communication woes was “a fantastic win” for its residents.
But he said there was immediate concern about what many believed was an underpowered option.
“I have to admit my understanding of whether this solution would be what Woorinen South and its surrounding farms have been waiting years for, was pretty well non-existent,” Mr Walsh said.
“So I turned to Telstra to give me the facts – in plain English,” he added.
Telstra regional general manager Steve Tinker has expanded the information about the small cell 4G being installed at Woorinen South.
Mr Tinker said the small cell is designed to add ‘depth of coverage’ to the town (to improve in-building coverage, for example) – and complements the overlapping coverage currently provided from Swan Hill and Swan Hill West sites.
He said it was important to note this part of an overall network; and all parts of the cellular network, need to able to work together to provide the best outcome possible.
“This site at Woorinen South; and the new mobile base station at Beverford, which is to be built south of town, will provide linking coverage from Swan Hill to Nyah West and to Woorinen South; which will support improved 4G digital connectivity throughout this area,” Mr Tinker said.
“Again, it is also important to note all mobile phone networks are subject to coverage limitations, where signal levels will vary due to local weather/atmospheric conditions, physical structures (buildings, tunnels or bridges) building materials (such as tin roofs, tin walls, metal-based insulation) or geographic features (hills, forests, lakes, trees, rocks),” he said.
“As an example, if there are big steel packing sheds; where the signal has to get in – and get out again – there may be some challenges as we cannot rewrite the laws of physics; however there are technology solutions that can provide the coverage from outside into the inside of the buildings like this and others.”
Mr Walsh said as the project has just been announced; Telstra will now be working through the design and required approvals.
He said once it has the timeframes for the delivery, it will come back to community and let them know.
“Mr Tinker told me Telstra is planning on visiting Woorinen South and Beverford on September 6; however that has had to be postponed due to COVID and they will look to reschedule when possible,” Mr Walsh explained.
“This will help answer the questions that locals may have,” he said.
“I am confident the people in this region – in the town and surrounding areas – will experience much improved digital communications when these projects are completed.”