Residents so desperate for mobile coverage they'll pay for tower
RESIDENTS in the Boyne Valley and Baffle Creek are pushing for mobile phone coverage - and they're determined to be proactive about getting it.
The feeling of isolation when they were cut off from the rest of the region during the January floods validated the need for a telecommunications tower to cover the area.
The first step was the success of Calliope's Bulls and Bands charity fundraiser.
More than $75,000 raised from the event will go towards the construction of a communications tower in Baffle Creek and the Boyne Valley.
The fundraiser organisers are now proactively working to make the tower a reality.
Bulls and Bands organiser Will Wilson, also the Calliope Rodeo Association president, said the March fundraiser was only a starting point for tower funds.
"We know we'll need more but first we want to get some ideas of costs and timelines to get it done," he said.
"The residents have been wanting it for quite a while and they haven't been very successful with just asking through the governments," he said.
"It's hard to draw money out of a dry tank."
Mr Wilson said the group believed it was "better to do than to ask".
"So we're being very active trying to get this into place," he said.
"It's not a question of can we do it but how can we make it happen."
Mr Wilson said he had many friends in the area who were affected.
"The mobile coverage is next to zero - there's only a few high knobs that can get coverage," he said.
"The copper is so old it's not in useable condition."
Mr Wilson said residents were still having trouble, going up to two hours a day without coverage in the Boyne Valley.
"One group of people, their road access was out for three months and they couldn't get out - that's just one example but there's plenty more up there," he said.
"Our real goal is if we can save one life then this is worth it."
The action group will meet today to discuss further plans.