Recognising that many voices are better than one, in 2012 Council brought together community, business and Council representatives to form the Mansfield Shire Telecommunications Advocacy Group to develop and deliver a coordinated and targeted advocacy plan to secure improvements to telecommunications across Mansfield Shire.
Background and history
Telecommunications, specifically mobile phone and television reception and broadband coverage, have long been an issue across many parts of Mansfield Shire. Many areas have no mobile phone reception whatsoever and in times of emergency and during peak visitor periods, this has the potential to be catastrophic.
Businesses and the broader community are also affected on a daily basis by patchy access or limited capacity and stories abound of the issues this causes.
Council has made repeated efforts to advocate to state and federal governments and Telstra to improve the telecommunications availability to this area with no great level of success:
- Input prior to two federal elections
- Constant lobbying of Telstra at regional level
- May 2007 – Post the 2006 bushfires advocated at federal level for tower at Tolmie
- Hume Strategy
- Bushfires Commission
Advocating to achieve improved telecommunications appears as an action in many of our community plans and have been community members are individually lobbying authorities for improvements.
In 2012 community members joined with Council to form a Telecommunications Advocacy Group. The group spent time identifying the issues and the outcomes they would like to see and developed a document that is being used to work with telecommunications companies and all levels of government. Click here to view the 'Securing our Digital Future' document.
Council also became the lead agency of the Indi Telecommunications Advocacy group, which was chaired by Cathy McGowan and was formed to advocate for improvements across North East Victoria where similar issues exist throughout.
Mobile Black Spot Programme
The Australian Government Department of Communications (DoC) committed $100M in 2015 towards rectifying some of the many mobile phone black spots across Australia. A further $60M was committed in 2016. The Mobile Coverage Programme aims to improve mobile coverage along major transport routes, in small communities and in areas that are prone to experiencing natural disasters. Areas with unique coverage problems, such as areas with high demand for services during seasonal holiday periods will also benefit from this fund.
Mansfield Shire had significant success in the first round, securing funding for 7 new mobile phone base stations across the Shire - Tolmie, Howqua, Sawmill Settlement, Goughs Bay, Ancona, Enochs Point (Mt Terrible) and Woods Point. Funding for a new base station for the Kevington district was secured in the second round.
National Broadband Network (nbn)
The nbn started rollout across Mansfield Shire in 2015. Most of Mansfield Shire will be serviced by satellite and fixed wireless technology. All the information about the nbn can be found on the link below
Link to NBN Co website
Link to Mobile Black Spot Programme
Internet speed test
Compare your internet speed to the rest of Australia