‘It’s hard to put into words how angry I am’: federal MP blasts telcos

The Murraylands has missed out on mobile black spot funding, and Member for Barker Tony Pasin has pointed a blaming finger.

Tony Pasin blames telecommunications companies for the Murraylands’ failure to secure funding for new mobile phone towers. Photo: Office of Tony Pasin.

Federal MP Tony Pasin has let rip at the telecommunications sector after the Murraylands missed out on funding from a mobile black spot program.

On Friday, the federal government announced it would fund 67 new mobile phone towers around Australia, including two in South Australia.

But we’ll have to keep waiting for better phone coverage on the east side of Murray Bridge, at Monteith and Callington, and along the Karoonda and Mallee Highways, even though each is a listed black spot.

Mr Pasin blamed Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and the Field Solutions Group.

“It’s really disappointing that telecommunications providers have not shown more interest in partnering with government to deliver improved connectivity to regional South Australia,” he said.

“The government is committed to working with industry and state and local governments to improve mobile coverage and connectivity across Australia, but it’s vital that industry participate in the program.

“It’s hard to put into words how angry I am.”

The latest round of the program, round 5A, became necessary only because the government was unable to spend the $80 million it had allocated to round five.

Some of the telcos’ round five applications were turned down because they did not meet guidelines or represent value for money.

‘There are so many black spots that need addressing’

Mobile phone coverage is one of the issues for which Mr Pasin has argued most passionately during his time in federal parliament.

Back in 2018 he argued that his own government needed to introduce continuous, annual funding for the Mobile Black Spot Program instead of going round by round.

The government is no longer accepting new nominations for its mobile black spot database.

For those wondering, yes, Mypolonga is also listed as a black spot; but a new Optus tower being built there might help.

Have your say on telecommunications

A reminder: as well as offering funding for phone towers, the federal government is seeking people’s feedback on the state of regional telecommunications.

Anyone interested in the issue can register to video-call in to a virtual consultation session being held next Thursday morning, August 5.

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