Mobile blackspots ‘could lead to tragedy’

Mobile blackspots ‘could lead to tragedy’

25 April 2013

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Australia — MOBILE phone blackspots in Alpine shire could have tragic consequences, council leaders fear.

Their concern is that lives are being put at risk because people are having trouble trying to phone triple-0.

Fears heightened after a recent boating accident at Lake Buffalo, coming on top of the Harrietville-Alpine bushfire earlier this year.

Alpine Council chief executive Ian Nicholls said yesterday that a lack of access to triple-0 services in parts of the shire was worrying.

Mr Nicholls said the issue had to be seen within the context of the region’s prevalence of natural disasters, its ageing population and large visitor numbers at different times of the year.

“We have more than 12,000 residents and at peak tourism periods this number grows to up to 50,000 people,” he said.

Mr Nicholls said the council had received a lot of complaints from residents concerned about problems with mobile phone coverage.

The issue had been raised several times over the past five years with politicians and service providers.

Yesterday the council issued a new plea for telecommunications providers to deal with the problem.

“I can’t say that it’s been a fair time for them to respond yet, so at this stage we just wanted to let people know what we’re doing,” Mr Nicholls said.

“Certainly there’s a black spot around the Mudgegonga area where the fires were in 2009.

“There was a lot of feedback from around there with people’s concerns.

“A major one over the summer has been Lake Buffalo with a couple of accidents out there that were life-threatening but the people involved were not able to call triple-0.

“It’s time to fix this problem for the long-term safety of our communities and to our ability to make our visitors feel secure.”

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