Mobile phone “hornets’ nest” in Armstrong CreekMedia Releases
Mobile phone services in the rapidly growing areas of Armstrong Creek, Warralily and Mt Duneed are absolutely failing many residents, local Federal MP Libby Coker said today.
Ms Coker was speaking after hosting a virtual community meeting last night (13 Oct) with Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland, attended by more than 80 concerned Armstrong Creek residents.
A petition started by Ms Coker for improved mobile services in Armstrong Creek and surrounds has also been signed by more than 400 people.
“Attendance at last night’s meeting just reflected the level of frustration. I felt like I was opening a hornets’ nest as story after story came out about mobile phone failures,” Ms Coker said.
She said the pandemic had exacerbated the problem because so many people were now working from home, or home schooling, with unreliable or non-existent mobile connectivity.
“And for some people it was more than simply frustrating; it was a matter of life or death. One woman shared her emotional story of a medical emergency where her husband had collapsed needing an ambulance,” Ms Coker said.
“Hearing the instructions over the phone from a triple-zero paramedic while waiting for the ambulance was impossible. The woman, a neighbour and a bricky who’d been working across the road, all tried unsuccessfully to get usable coverage on their phones.
“It’s telling that all were on difference mobile networks, so all three networks failed their customers. Thankfully the husband did get to hospital and is now fine. But the couple live in fear of a re-occurrence.
“My office has been getting complaints about poor mobile phone coverage and frequent call drop-outs around Armstrong Creek and Mount Duneed for some time.
“Often people can only get coverage out the front of their house, or in one particular room. Some streets seem to be ‘dead’ zones for coverage, when the rest of the suburb gets coverage.
“My own phone calls drop out often as I’m driving about Armstrong Creek on official business. It’s frustrating and shouldn’t be the case in such a rapidly populating urban area.
“Clearly the problem is serious and widespread. The telcos are not keeping up with the population and housing growth in the area and the resulting demand for mobile services.”
Ms Coker said the telcos must fast-track mobile tower roll-outs to better service Armstrong Creek.
“Not only do we need to find solutions to the Armstrong Creek issues, we must ensure that ‘mobile phone catch up’ doesn’t become an issue for other urban growth areas. Better forward planning is crucial,” she said.
“I’ll be taking people’s individual concerns directly to the management of the three big mobile phone carriers and raising the broader issues in Parliament.
“Importantly, the Federal Government needs to have robust policy that results in better mobile services for local communities.”