TELSTRA has been awarded a contract to build a new mobile phone tower at Grose Vale, which is meant to fix the area’s mobile black spot program.
The federal government awarded the contract to Telstra as part of its Mobile Black Spot Program.
Grose Vale was one of the locations listed on the government’s priority list. The federal government announced the locations on its priority list on April 5.
The program has also seen a number of towers either built or proposed to be built across the Hawkesbury.
In round one, Telstra was awarded contracts to build new towers at Colo Heights, Kurrajong, Mount Tomah, Webbs Creek, Sackville North as well as a small cell tower at Lower Portland
The tower at Sackville North was recently completed. Webbs Creek has not been completed, and is scheduled to go on air sometime this year.
The tower at Mount Tomah is not complete either. A Telstra spokesperson was unable to comment on the tower, and directed the Gazette to the office of Bridget McKenzie, the federal Minister for Regional Communications.
The Gazette contacted the Minister, and a spokesperson said the site was experiencing delays.
“We understand in relation to Mount Tomah, Telstra is still to finalise a lease for the required land. The Government is continuing to explore options with Telstra for this base station,” they said.
“Base station deployment is a complex process that typically takes 12 to 18 months to complete and involves a number of phases including planning, detailed design, planning approvals, site acquisition, construction and final activation.
“As well as the carriers, a number of external parties are directly and indirectly involved in the deployment process, including land owners, local communities, local councils, state government departments, power authorities and other infrastructure providers.
“Planning approvals and site acquisition in particular are subject to external processes that are typically outside of the direct control of the carrier. In some instances, these external factors may stall the delivery of a site. For example, local community objections may result in planning approval being refused, or land owners may be unwilling to lease land to the carrier.”
Meanwhile Optus was awarded the contract to build a tower at St Albans in the program’s second round. It is currently under construction.
An Optus spokesperson said it was conducting a review to find a suitable location for the tower, which would provide 3G and 4G services to the St Albans region.
Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman welcomed the announcement of the Grose Vale tower, and also towers at Yellow Rock and Megalong, which are also in the Macquarie electorate.
“Every time I head to these areas, the community raises the problem of Mobile reception,” she said.
“They are all areas prone to natural disasters and in their own way quite isolated, so access to mobile communication is vital.
“I think in particular for Yellow Rock, where the memories of the 2013 fires are still very fresh, improved communication will provide some peace of mind.”