AFTER much lobbying by the Sandy Point Community Group, this active ‘advocacy group’ has received word that Telstra is now committed to making some significant improvements to the communications infrastructure of Sandy Point, indicating that both wireless and landline developments are soon to take place.
“The Senior Project Specialist for Wireless Delivery in Telstra Operations has confirmed that Telstra is seeking to acquire a suitable site for a new 25 metre mobile phone and data (internet) tower in Sandy Point,” said Sandy Point Community Group member Dr Neil Shaw.
This process, Dr Shaw explained, will require a lease to be executed, a town planning permit to be obtained from the South Gippsland Shire Council, and design drawings to be completed by Telstra engineers.
Although thrilled at the prospect, Dr Shaw pointed out that this is not likely to be a quick process and could take up to 12 months.
“A team of engineers and managers from Telstra has already been to Sandy Point to identify a few specific sites and to reach an agreement with the property owner of one of the chosen locations. This technology is 4G LTE, which is a recognised international standard. The tower will carry both voice and data (including internet connections),” he explained.
“It is interesting to note that this investment by Telstra is not the result of the Federal Government’s ‘Black Spot’ program which was announced 20 months ago, ahead of the elections. At this stage, none of the $100m for this program has been allocated to any contracts.
“Sandy Point Community Group, together with support from Council, was one of over a 1000 towns around Australia which applied for Black Spot funding. However it is important to acknowledge that the new tower for Sandy Point is a Telstra initiative, based entirely upon Telstra’s own business models and investment plan,” Dr Shaw added.
As for NBN, Dr Shaw said that two new NBN towers had been erected in the Yanakie area but it appears that neither tower will give NBN services to houses inside the township of Sandy Point.
“However the new 4G wireless tower and the ADSL-2 upgrade to our landline connections will probably mean that access to NBN will be irrelevant. Of course the comparative cost of using these three technologies needs to be considered,” Dr Shaw said.
In addition to this good news, Dr Shaw said that there are to be some significant landline developments coming to Sandy Point. The township’s small exchange is scheduled for upgrade tomorrow (Thursday April 16), with the expected result that both phone and internet services will be enhanced to ADSL-2 (with a data speed capable of up to 20Mbps).
Telstra has advised it will do its best to keep interruptions to a minimum while the upgrade takes place, but that it is possible that residents won’t be able to connect to the internet via fixed broadband for up to 30 minutes between 1am and 6am. If this happens, your Telstra modem should reconnect automatically no later than 6am, so you shouldn’t have to do anything. If this doesn’t happen, just turn your modem off, wait a few minutes and turn it back on.