Pressure on phone promise

THE Launceston City Council will explore how it can benefit from a $100 million election promise made by the federal government to improve mobile access in regional areas.

A motion was passed in a council meeting a year ago to take issue with the federal government and telecommunication companies over mobile phone coverage in bushfire areas around Launceston.

It came after Nunamara residents were told by a company that installing mobile phone towers in the area would not be cost-effective.

Launceston City Council general manager Robert Dobrzynski said the matter was pushed at the Local Government Association of Tasmania annual meeting last July, where it was resolved that the association would pursue the matter.

"Poor mobile phone coverage has the potential to impact significantly on the capacity of residents in areas under bushfire threat to leave in a timely manner to prevent injury or fatality," he said.

"However, it is a vexed issue as installing towers in remote areas costs significant amounts of money and often does not provide a commercial return to telecommunications operators.

"In the lead-up to the September election, the federal government made a commitment of $100 million to improve mobile phone access in regional areas, and this is something the council will be exploring."

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