Regional Telecommunications Project Newsletter 5 - October 2016

State of the build

More mobile base stations have been rolled out under the alignment of the State’s Regional Telecommunications Project with the Commonwealth’s Mobile Black Spot Program, with Borden in the Great Southern region launched on Wednesday, 28 September. 

Naraling, Nabawa, Kununoppin, South Yuna, East Yuna, Grass Valley and Popanyinning are the next sites to be switched on as part of the 130 new or upgraded mobile base stations in the Mobile Black Spot Program.

Wilyabrup is up and running

Wilyabrup RTP presentation
Wilyabrup RTP presentation, by ggodsman

Wilyabrup presentation

Telstra State Manager WA David Ridgway, Department of Commerce Project Manager Penny Griffin, Minister for Regional Development the Hon. Terry Redman, Department of Commerce Director General Anne Discroll with a framed photo of the Wilyabrup tower under construction.

Wilyabrup, was officially launched on Friday, 30 September with a celebratory gathering near the site. It represents the final base station to be delivered under an agreement between the State and Telstra covering 23 new sites, funded under the RTP.

Regional Development Minister the Hon. Terry Redman presided over the opening, marking the successful deployment of all 23 base stations. These are delivering immediate benefits to regional Western Australia.

“The new tower at Wilyabrup, made possible by Royalties for Regions, will allow businesses to grow and become more competitive, support improvements in emergency services response times, and help bridge the digital divide between metropolitan areas and regional communities,” he said.

The new coverage includes the immediate locale at Wilyabrup and extends along Caves Road between Gracetown and Yallingup, plus a portion of the Margaret River coastline.

Borden powers into the digital age

Borden base station
Borden base station, by ggodsman

New Borden base station commissioned

Local Borden resident Nicky William, Gnowangerup Councillor and Great Southern Development Commission Board member Fiona Gaze, Member for Wagin the Hon. Terry Waldron, Telstra Area General Manager Boyd Brown, WA Police Supt Garry Cunningham, Federal Member for O'Connor Rick Wilson.

Nestled in the scenic Gnowangerup shire, the town of Borden is celebrating improved mobile coverage from a new base station on Chester Pass Road.

The town, an important grain handling centre in the Great Southern region, now has convenient access to mobile voice and broadband services.

Minister Mischin noted the importance of high speed connectivity for the town.

“The new service will greatly support visitors to the beautiful Stirling Range National Park, as well as local businesses and farmers in the grain sector, for which the area is an important hub,” he said.

Borden is the first of 25 locations in the Great Southern where new or upgraded mobile base stations will be established over the next two years.

New mobile project promoted at popular rural event

Dowerin Field Day
Dowerin Field Day, by ggodsman

Dowerin Field Day

New mobile project promoted at popular rural event

One of Australia’s biggest agricultural expos, attracting up to 24,000 people annually, provided the perfect opportunity for the Department of Commerce’s Penny Griffin and Sue Cairns to answer questions about the rollout of the Regional Telecommunications Project and learn more about black spots in the vicinity.

The Dowerin Field Days, held in August in the Central Wheatbelt town, provide a valuable shop window for the farming community and attract exhibitors from information technology to lifestyle and leisure products and services, manufacturers and distributors of farm machinery, allied equipment and rural services.

“Commerce’s successful attendance at the event achieved the goal of raising awareness of the State’s $85 million Royalties for Regions investment in mobile telecommunications infrastructure, which will see the delivery of 266 new or improved towers by 31 December 2018” Ms Griffin said.

“Sixteen towers were constructed in the Wheatbelt region under the previous Regional Mobile Communications Project, which was completed in September 2014, and another 40 are planned by the end of 2018 through Royalties for Regions with co-funding from the Commonwealth Government, Telstra and Vodafone.

The importance of a single tower

The Nilemah tower in the Shire of Shark Bay was completed in June and has already made a significant difference in the region.

Positioned between Denham and the North West Highway along Shark Bay Road, the Nilemah tower provides continuous coverage along this key access route, which is greatly appreciated by motorists and has improved public safety.

Additionally the tower is benefiting businesses in the area, in particular the Hamelin Pool Caravan Park which is located along Shark Bay’s picturesque shoreline. 

There was no service in the caravan park prior to the tower’s construction, but now with the new base station, locals and tourists alike are taking advantage of the new service.

“Tourist numbers have increased, with visitors staying longer in Hamelin Pool because of the connectivity as they no longer need to press on to Denham or go back to the highway,” Hamelin Pool Caravan Park owner Patricia Cox said.

“It has also been useful for our volunteering Wwoofers from Australia and abroad to stay in touch with family and friends – it has been life changing in this area.”

WWOOF is a worldwide movement linking volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchanges, helping to build a sustainable global community.

The Hamelin Pool area is home to the stunning stromatolites, one of only three sites on Earth where these living fossils have survived for over 2,000 years. Stromatolites are formed by the layering of lime-secreting cyanobacteria that thrive in the high salt conditions of Shark Bay.  A 200 metre boardwalk guides tourists along the stromatolites’ marine site and enables visitors to capture their beauty in the clear blue waters of the bay.   Now tourists can instantly upload their photos to Instagram thanks to the new mobile base station. Visitors have been uploading images on the spot directly from their phones with the hashtag #stromatolites and #hamelinpool.

Nilemah has a long history in telecommunications, harking back to the 1880s when the Hamelin Pool Telegraph Station, originally named the Flint Cliff Telegraph Station after a local landmark, was an important link in the line between Perth and Roebourne. The old station is now a museum and open to visitors daily.

Hamelin Pool
Hamelin Pool, by ggodsman

Stromatolites at Hamelin Pool

Image credit: George and Shelly

Premier’s Award

The Department of Commerce’s hard work to improve mobile connectivity in regional areas has been recognised as a category finalist in the upcoming Premier’s Awards.

The Regional Mobile Communications Project has been selected in the Revitalising the Regions category. This category recognises projects that achieve better outcomes for regional Western Australia, or stimulate and sustain regional investment, or strengthen regional businesses and communities. The Premier’s Awards were launched in 1996 to stimulate and inspire agencies to strive for excellence in their delivery of services to the community.

The winners will be announced on Wednesday, 2 November 2016.

We wish the best of luck to project team members Penny Griffin and Sue Cairns.

Helpful apps

Apps for grain farmers

New Apps designed for mobile devices to support grain farmers in the field have been developed by the Grain Research and Development Corporation.

For more information go to:

Apps for grain farmers
Apps for grain farmers, by ggodsman

Apps for grain growers

Some of the apps available from the Grains Research and Development Corporation

Coverage apps

Have you ever wondered where your nearest mobile phone tower is located and what services it supports? Perhaps you want to know how fast 4G Internet speeds are in your area and how far the signal reaches?

Well this app is for you!

Regularly updated with the latest tower information from the Australian Communications and Media Authority, this app presents all you ever wanted to know about mobile phone towers in a fun and interactive format. Not only that, it’s free to download and comes without advertisements.

Coverage App
Coverage App, by ggodsman

Aus Phone Towers app

Regularly updated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority


Industry Development
Last updated 01 Nov 2016

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