Minister calls to open tower

By Patricia Coats

JOHN Brown was able to stand outside the Rosedale Hall yesterday and watch as two bars of mobile phone signal blinked into life on his CDMA telephone.

The Rosedale SES group leader was there to witness the extension of CDMA mobile coverage in the Rosedale, Baffle Creek, Berajondo and Lowmead areas.

Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Helen Coonan yesterday officially turned on the Mt Maria Mobile Phone Tower.

Mr Brown hopes mobile service will make his life easier when it comes to managing emergencies.

"It's one of the best things that could have happened as far as emergency services are concerned," Mr Brown said.

"It makes our job in activating crews and getting them out 100% better because we'll be able to use landline and mobile.

"And when we're out on the site we'll now be capable of using mobile phone.

"The tilt train was a prime example (of when coverage was needed).

"We had neither sufficient radio coverage nor phone coverage until a satellite phone arrived and that was hours later."

Senator Coonan said the tower was promised to residents when she visited the area two years ago.

She said the tower would assist about 2000 people in the area.

"This tower will provide a long-term benefit to the Baffle Creek community and mobile coverage across Australia will only continue to improve as part of the $30 million Mobile Connect program, which is part of the $1.1 billion Connect Australia program," Senator Coonan said.

The tower will also support the 3G network, and Senator Coonan said it should be enabled to allow broadband internet access in the area from early next year.

Member for Hinkler Paul Neville said it had taken two years to establish the tower because the site was difficult to access.

"Part of the problem was to find a site that would cover the communities ," Mr Neville said.

"It's probably a good thing we had to wait a little because it enabled us to kill two birds with one stone."

The tower was jointly funded by federal government and Telstra.



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