Residents raise mobile coverage concerns

October 25, 2021 BY

Armstrong Creek residents have raised concerns about increasing issues with poor mobile coverage in the area, signing a petition and Zooming into a meeting hosted by Corangamite MP Libby Coker. Photo: SUPPLIED

MORE than 400 people have signed a petition calling for improved mobile coverage in the Armstrong Creek area, demanding communication technology meets the needs of the growing population.

Federal MP Libby Coker says she will be taking community concerns to parliament and the telecommunications companies.

Ms Coker, who also hosted an online community meeting to discuss the issue, said she started the petition after receiving complaints about poor coverage around Armstrong Creek and Mount Duneed.

She said Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland and more than 80 local residents attended the virtual meeting, expressing their frustration with “drop outs” and mobile reception concerns.

Ms Coker said the pandemic had potentially 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,” Ms Coker said.

“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 differenct mobile networks, so all three networks failed their customers.

“Thankfully the husband did get to hospital and is now fine.”

Ms Coker said some people could 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,” she said.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

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