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An Update on the 3G Network

Part of the attractiveness of our community is that it offers the benefits of city and rural life – a relaxing lifestyle but with proximity to all the benefits of the city.

However, when it comes to telecommunications this peri-urban location is a liability. Our community along with other similar areas are neglected by Australia’s telcos.

For many years, it has been a deliberate priority of mine to champion a better deal for our area from the telcos – for more towers and less blackspots. Only weeks ago, we got a new phone tower in Glenhaven.

This is a cause of celebration after years of lobbying and a community campaign for the tower to be located at Glenhaven Green.

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As the Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland said about a communications blackspot in her own electorate, reliable communications is not “a nice to have, it’s a necessity”. I agree with her.

In recent months, it has become apparent to me that Telstra’s decision to shut down the 3G network has not been totally thought through. It’s also a deep concern to local residents.

Residents have told me in emails, “All I know is that lately my signal bars have reduced to one bar only and I appear to only have 3G”. And “We don’t rely on 3G unless 4G is down which happens. We seem to be in a black spot or hole. We need 3G when this happens”

Another resident wrong, “Yes 4G is very bad at our address. We needed to install a phone booster. The phone booster works better on 3G than 4G.

Feedback I have received that shown deep concerns in Galston, Arcadia, Wisemans Ferry, Milson’s Passage, Maroota, Annangrove, Mount Colah and Laughtondale about the end of 3G.

Many residents in these areas are still relying on the 3G network and cannot get the 4G or 5G network. As well, for those in boats on the Hawkesbury River, 3G is the vital link with emergency services. There is not a shortage of technology, only a shortage of will.

It’s a cause I took up during the recent parliamentary sitting fortnight. I am pleased that Minister Rowland has formed a working group inquiring into the 3G shutdown – with a particular emphasis on triple zero calls.

My concern is that this process should be robust. I simply don’t trust the telcos when they say “trust our maps”. My answer is “trust but verify”.

It is why in 2021, I proposed in a private member’s Bill that a Telco had to continue to operate a 3G network until the Minister could certify that a substitute 4G or 5G network was available. That’s the only way to ensure nobody gets left behind and I encourage the Minister to adopt my plan.

Julian Leeser Web2 An Update On The 3G Network

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