More Mobile Phone, and Disappointing News

The last post below left us anticipating a meeting with Telstra and their subcontractor Visionstream on 15 June. On the day, among a couple of others, we also had the Hangman landowner, an RFS representative and the Snowy Mountains Regional Council’s administrator in attendance.

Key points to come out of the meeting, not necessarily in order were:

  • budget only allows for, and requires, a village service
  • Hangman offers wide District coverage but may not cover all village ‘roofs’ as specified in contract
  • no additional funding is available to facilitate a Hangman tower
  • with more notice, Council and/or the community may have been able to raise funds, especially with the seed/grant monies for Council amalgamation
  • $500k incremental budget for power may have been over the top, and is likely to be much closer to $200k
  • emergency services need better coverage but have no $s to commit, though would likely leverage colocation ASAP if constructed on Hangman
  • Aboriginal land claims on vacant Crown lands preclude those sites from current consideration due to likely lengthy paper chases to gain approvals
  • only sites now under consideration are at the Numeralla exchange or colocation on the NBN tower with cost benefits to be completed

Following the meeting, with a weekend to stew on it, it was realised that NDAI needed to be liaising and lobbying with relevant politicians if any change to the contract was to occur. Seemed obvious once realised, but wasn’t so clear before as the contact had all been with Telstra and Visionstream, and part of contract apparently required Telstra to liaise with the community, which they have sort of been doing, sort of. We’d also been strung along for almost 9 months with the impression the Hangman site was being given full consideration and had a realistic chance of implementation.

Why the politicians? Because the terms of the contract that Telstra are delivering on was/is established by the Department of Communications and the contract needs to be renegotiated. They’re in control and we figured that they needed to be directed by the politicians to sort it.

After a community meeting convened to discuss a way forward on 22 June 2017 it was decided to lobby our politicians and the Department and hope for a good outcome.

To hopefully assist, a Change.org petition was established; https://www.change.org/p/senator-the-hon-mitch-fifield-ministers-for-the-department-of-communications-and-the-arts-provide-mobile-phone-coverage-to-the-numeralla-district-b3a441e0-4b9f-4a83-9a05-09f04f157a27

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