TELECOMMUNICATIONS company Optus has apologised to customers for poor mobile phone coverage in Port Fairy over the Labour Day long weekend.
Nanjing Night Net

The Standard’s Facebook page was filled with comments yesterday about spotty service during the Port Fairy Folk Festival, predominately with non-Telstra providers such as Optus and Vodafone.

An Optus spokesperson yesterday said the company had planned to provide additional capacity to the festival via a temporary mobile base station, but flooding in northern Victoria had kept the station on stand-by in Melbourne.

“We sincerely apologise to customers for their experience,” she said.

“For several years now, Optus has been in discussions with the council on a variety of ways in which to enhance mobile coverage for not only the wider Port Fairy community but for dedicated mobile coverage at Southcombe Reserve.

“Despite numerous proposals being submitted we have yet to reach an agreement with the council.

“Optus had intended to invest in a retail outlet in Port Fairy but due to the inability to improve the infrastructure these plans have been placed on hold.

“Optus continues to remain committed to enhancing mobile coverage in regional areas.”

Telstra Countrywide area general manager Bill Mundy said a cell on wheels (COW) had been deployed in Port Fairy at the provider’s exchange to boost signals for the weekend.

“We actually deployed a COW for the music festival, and we also internally try to optimise the network to minimise congestion at such an event,” Mr Mundy said.

“Overall in doing both those things we were able to maintain, what we would consider for peak events, a high level of network performance.

“Certainly we had some people talk to us about the fact there was some congestion over the weekend.

“However, at all events of this nature where you have a significant number of people congregating in one area, it is hard as a carrier not to have a negative impact on your network.”

He said Telstra Countrywide always reviewed arrangements in place at major events.

“We will continue to make sure we make further improvements to the network where we can, in order to cope with the additional capacity of events as they grow in numbers.”

Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said money had not been invested into improving mobile coverage in country areas for the past five years.

“One of the big issues facing regional and rural Australia is that the government took $2 billion dedicated to improving mobile services in country areas to finance their National Broadband Network proposal,” Mr Tehan said.

“This is indicative of what we’re now starting to see when large events like the folk festival are held.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.