MP calls out Telstra on blackspot work

Gareth ThomasAlbany Advertiser
Member for O'Connor Rick Wilson.
Camera IconMember for O'Connor Rick Wilson. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

O’Connor MP Rick Wilson has criticised Telstra for its slow roll-out rate of mobile phone towers in the region, with only two of 55 proposed towers operational as part of the Federal Mobile Blackspot Program.

Funding for the towers, 27 of which will be located in the Great Southern, was allocated in the 2015 Budget and the program is due to be completed by the end of 2019.

Two Telstra-built towers in Borden and Popanyinning have been completed in addition to one Vodafone-built tower in Crowea. Mr Wilson said he was disappointed it was taking so long to see new towers built in O’Connor.

“To see just three new towers built in the electorate under funding that was allocated through the Mobile Black Spot Program 18 months ago is, I think, a poor result,” he said.

“While there are contractual negotiations and other processes that must be settled prior to the building phase, I still believe things could have progressed faster than what we have seen to date.”

Telstra area general manager Boyd Brown said Telstra was expecting a large number of additional locations in the region to go online in the first half of 2017.

“We understand the anticipation that local communities have about when coverage will be delivered to their area and significant work has been occurring behind the scenes,” he said.

“This includes design planning, community consultations, the formulation and development of planning applications, and working with local councils to get the best outcome for everybody.”

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