Optus commit to improving mobile coverage across the Riverina

Improved mobile coverage across the Riverina will address some black spots but one farmer says the wait is disappointing.

It comes as one service provider on Thursday, promised to address 4G access in seven rural areas within two years. 

Optus Franchisee Wally Pasquali said it it had committed $6.3 million to improving coverage in and around Wagga. 

Mr Pasquali said there was clearly a need to focus on rural locations and planned to target Gumly Gumly, Downside, Lake Albert, Uranquinty, Collingullie, Junee and Marrar in the development of new mobile sites. 

Mr Pasquali said the provider would expand its coverage along the Sturt and Olympic Highways, which would benefit those living, working, driving through and visiting the Riverina.

“We’ll have seven new sites in the next two years,” Mr Pasquali said.

“We already have four new sites up and going and we’ve upgraded eight sites around Wagga.”

He said it was hoped the improved services would fix identified black spots and breakdown the telecommunications monopoly for residents in remote locations.

“We’re committed to ensuring sustainable and adequate coverage,” Mr Pasquali said. 

“And we’re providing competition.”

Collingullie farmer David Goldman said there was a genuine need to have functional networks across farming communities and it was disappointing it still hadn’t happened. 

Mr Goldman said poor mobile coverage was a frustration shared by the farming community.

“You can’t even drive to the rock and have coverage,” Mr Goldman said. 

“There are old, retired people on farms that need medical attention from time to time and there’s a pretty high fire risk in summer.”

He said on a really hot day, a cloudy day or a windy day, it was impossible to get reception and he couldn’t get wireless at all.  

Mr Goldman said it was “pretty poor” and “something that should have been addressed a long time ago”. 

“So many things become critical these days,” Mr Goldman said. “We shouldn’t have to drive around to deliver messages that could be sent a lot easier.” 

It's something that should have been addressed a long time ago.

David Goldman