Black spot survey aims to push mobile reception improvements

Black holes in Hawkesbury's mobile coverage have been revealed by a new heatmap, created with survey data by federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman.

Hundreds of residents have responded to the survey since it went live last month, revealing Bells Line of Road, Bowen Mountain, Kurrajong Heights, and Mountain Lagoon to be the Hawkesbury's biggest black spots for mobile reception, according to Ms Templeman.

Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman will present telcos with information on mobile coverage in the Hawkesbury ahead of the next Mobile Black Spot Program funding round. Picture: Supplied

Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman will present telcos with information on mobile coverage in the Hawkesbury ahead of the next Mobile Black Spot Program funding round. Picture: Supplied

The heatmap will be handed to telecommunications companies ahead of the next round of federal funding, in a bid to secure improved mobile coverage in the region.

"Those who responded to the survey are overwhelmingly concerned with the implications of poor coverage in emergency situations like bushfires or illness," Ms Templeman said.

"People who battled last year's devastating bushfires have told me of the problems in organising crews during the crisis because they didn't have mobile coverage, and other residents expressed concern for the wellbeing of elderly residents whose personal alarms only get weak signals."

She said she had heard numerous horror stories related to black spots including from a carer who had to leave her elderly patient and drive two kilometres to get phone coverage.

Many had difficulties running their business or working from home due to the patchy coverage, and some had purchased expensive equipment to help the situation - and even this didn't always alleviate the problem.

"Those who responded generally feel they are unfairly paying for a service they simply aren't receiving, and several believe their reception is worse now than it was years ago," Ms Templeman said.

Telcos need to apply for funding under the next round of the Mobile Black Spot Program by March 5 to obtain funding for new mobile towers and other signal boost technology.

Ms Templeman said she would present her findings to telcos in February.

"I will also be presenting the information directly to the government via Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, including to highlight problem areas not eligible for the current funding," she said.

She welcomed previous black spot funding that will see mobile towers erected in Central Colo, Colo and Putty, but said "it's just the first step".

There is still time to respond to Ms Templeman's survey, which will close on February 5. Go to https://susantempleman.com.au/campaigns/mobile-blackspots/.

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