February 1, 2013
Increased usage demand on telephone networks across the state is undermining the reliability of mobile phone services in rural communities. Growth in the use of smartphones and tablets is placing unmanageable data demands on Telstra and other providers’ regional networks, which is the causing a decline in levels of mobile phone service. “Our mobile phone coverage is dropping out even in areas that have had good coverage in the past,” VFF president Peter Tuohey said. “As mobile phones are an important part of farmers’ commercial operations, it’s crucial that this problem is rectified by service providers. “We need good coverage, especially in times of emergency such as the recent fires. “Natural disasters can isolate people. If a mobile phone is your only mode of contact, it’s vital that you have service.” The VFF has called on Telstra, the largest regional network operator, to lead the way in investing in technical improvements to ensure regional networks can cope with increasing consumer demand.