Pledge to fix Pottsville mobile phone coverage
FIXING mobile phone blackspots in Pottsville will be made a priority under a Shorten Labor Government, according to Federal Richmond MP Justine Elliot.
Mrs Elliot was joined by Shadow Communications Minister Stephen Jones this morning where they announced Pottsville would be high on the list of its $245 million regional communications plan.
Phone coverage in Pottsville has been a long-time issue for residents but Telstra says it has no plans to fix the problem as the area's "base station is operating normally”.
Last year, Pottsville General Store owner Rick Moore said the poor reception had been harmful to his business.
"We have trouble with our mobile phones but the Eftpos is more of a worry because we lose sales, 80 per cent of sales is Eftpos so people have to run down to the bank and get money,” he said.
"Most people just don't worry about it, it's always a quieter day when the Eftpos is down.”
Mr Moore said the all-day outages occurred at least "once or twice a month”, meaning many customers would just head to the IGA two doors down.
He said the store had a sign ready to alert customers whenever the Eftpos was down.
Another resident, Greg Miller, said he had been in an ongoing battle with Telstra over the issue and had to stand outside of his house to receive coverage.
Elderly resident, Jim Banks, said he needed proper phone coverage so he could look after his wife Esme who was unwell and in and out of Tweed Hospital.
"It's nice to be able to maintain contact all the time, it's important for the phone to be working the best it can as she has spent a lot of time in hospital,” he said.
Mrs Elliot said fixing the blackspots was important to improving the daily lives of residents, business owners and tourists.
"Residents in Pottsville are frustrated with the inaction by the Liberals and Nationals with many experiencing poor mobile coverage at home and at work,” Mrs Elliot said.
"This impacts families, students and small businesses in our region. We have a local economy that is dependant on tourism and retail so mobile phone coverage is vital.
"This lack of coverage is of a particular concern for our elderly, who often rely on these connections to stay in touch with family and friends.”
Mr Jones said Labor was committed to working with telecommunications companies to fix the mobile coverage in Pottsville.
"It matters to households who can't get a signal where they live, it matters to people travelling up and down the highway whether they're tourists or locals, it matters to local businesses, I've been to shops in the main street here where they're telling us the Eftpos machine doesn't work, they're also having problems with the NBN,” he said,.
"In most places where the NBN doesn't work they can switch over to the 4G network, but in Pottsville, the NBN and 4G network isn't working properly, so you're stuffed both ways, we want to fix that and we're committing to that.”