'Not holding my breath': Optus news fails to assure local

OPTUS has announced it will add a new mobile site at Boyne Island to bring the company's mobile coverage to the area for the first time.

The growing demand for mobile data is what triggered the proposal to upgrade an existing telecommunications facility at Centenary Drive.

The proposal calls for three new panel antennas to be attached to a tower, where previously only Telstra equipment existed.

It includes a new shelter to house equipment to be mounted at ground level as well.

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"In order to reduce the visual impact of the site, Optus will install the technology on an existing Telstra tower," an Optus spokesperson said.

"The site will provide coverage to the residential areas of Boyne Island along Handley Drive and parts of Boyne Island Rd."

"Coverage will also extend to parts of Tannum Sands."



Jessica Barrett.
Jessica Barrett. Contributed
















Unimpressed by the news is Boyne Island resident Jessica Barrett, who's been battling with her reception for years.

"Let's just say I'm not holding my breath," Mrs Barrett said.

"It's been said before ... that the reception will be fixed at the exchange and at the pillars, but it never fully solves the issues ... there's still faults."

While speaking to The Observer, Mrs Barrett was forced to leave her house and head outdoors.

"Just talking on my phone right now the line pops in and out ... I'm out at the end of my driveway right now and it's crackling constantly," she said.

Though Mrs Barrett is no longer an Optus customer, her partner is.

"I moved to Telstra recently to see if I can have better luck with them, but still, no luck," she said.

"And any time my partner goes to Boyne or Tannum, there's no reception at all.

"I don't think it has to do with any mobile antennas or anything like that ... it's the faults in the line.

"My brother-in-law lives at the top of a hill ... he's so high up but he still hasn't got reception up there."

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Mrs Barrett claimed that, on her street, there were 19 faults in the line from her house to the pillar at the top of the road. She said there were only 20 houses separating her place from that pillar.

"Which means every single house here has faults in their line," she said.

An Optus spokesperson said the installation of a new mobile phone base station aligned with the company's aim to invest and "improve its mobile coverage to meet the growing demand for mobile data".

According to a Catalyst One spokesman, work on the new site at Boyne Island has only just begun.

"We started adding the equipment on behalf of Optus today (Thursday)," the spokesman said.

Mrs Barrett said the proposal was a step in the right direction, but her hopes weren't set high.

"Ever since the cyclone - and it was pretty bad before that - the exchange and the towers have been damaged," she said.

"But they can't actually pinpoint the faults' locations without digging up the line, so instead they just do what they can each time someone complains, rather than replacing it."

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