Miners bridge the gap

Miners working on site are opting to use Skype, which involves instant messaging through video link-ups, to communicate with their loved ones.
Miners working on site are opting to use Skype, which involves instant messaging through video link-ups, to communicate with their loved ones. Tony Martin

YOU can now send sounds, images and text messages with a device that fits neatly into the palm of your hand.

Well you can so long as you have adequate signal.

But according to an Indigo Telecom survey, 72% of Australia's landmass is lacking standard mobile network coverage.

The communication company has vowed to increase coverage to 100% of Australia but in the meantime people working in regional areas are using other forms of technology to communicate.

For Airlie Beach miner Matthew Mudge, Skype is the best way to keep in touch with his girlfriend as his personal mobile phone doesn't receive signal when he is on site.

"I'm with Optus but I don't get signal when I am out at camp," Mr Mudge said.

"I just prefer Skype.

"It means I can show her my room and what I am eating for dinner... and she can show me what she has been doing around the house.

"It's nice to still have that face-to-face contact."

Skype is a relatively new form of communication, having being developed in 2003.

It involves instant messaging through video link-ups.

One of the benefits of using Skype is that most of its services are free.

Mr Mudge, who has been with his girlfriend for four years, said living away from home hadn't put too much strain on their relationship.

He grew up in Airlie Beach and said to stay in touch with the rest of his family he would use more traditional methods, like phoning.

"I have bought another phone for when I am at work... we get signal with Telstra," Mr Mudge said.

"It's not difficult at all; I'll call home every now and then on my work phone."

Despite owning two phones, Mr Mudge said he didn't notice his phone bill jump when he started working away from home.

"I just made sure that I was on a good plan, which included free texts and calls," he said.

Topics:  mining mobile phones optus skype sms telecommunications

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