Farm Weekly

Telstra boosts coverage for rural Australia

IMPROVING CONNECTIONS: Telstra's specialised technicians will provide customers in regional locations with localised support.

This is advertiser content for Telstra.

TELSTRA is the country's largest mobile network servicing rural and regional Australia and the company is boosting coverage through its latest initiative, a regional advisor network.

The integrated service model will provide customers in rural and regional locations with localised network and technology support, with a dedicated team of network specialists who can assist with improving mobile network coverage inside buildings and homes, troubleshooting mobile coverage extension devices, and improving community coverage.

The Telstra technicians are also available to attend local community events to discuss community network needs, making sure customers in rural areas have access to reliable internet and mobile coverage.

Regional general manager for northern NSW Mike Marom said the introduction of the national team highlighted Telstra's continued investment in regional Australia.

"It was something that was born from customer feedback around having the capacity to talk to an expert in the field of connectivity and communication," Mr Marom said.

"Having reliable service has become such an important part of the way our customers work and live, and how businesses interact, and it's a requirement, whether you're on a farm, in business or in the home."

Customers will be able to talk with experts about communication needs, challenges in areas with limited reception, and what can be done with wifi and other new technology to improve mobile service.

"A community might find some challenges with connectivity in a particular area and our team of network engineers and field technicians will work out what they can do to improve the situation," Mr Marom said.

"We've developed this team of regional advisors who can troubleshoot problems in any part of Australia, helping customers with advice and on the ground assessment of their needs, so we can provide a solution."

Telstra is the first telecommunications company to have a field service for rural and regional areas.

"We have field technicians in all states, and we plan to expand this model," Mr Marom said.

"We invest in regional Australia, and that's something that is in our DNA as a telecommunications company.

"From the days of PNG to where we are now, the commitment that we have to the bush is second to none, and members of our field teams live and work in the regional markets that they service."

Field technicians will provide solutions for customers by assessing their needs remotely, analysing the customer's area for network issues, and from there, provide ideas for how the customer can improve connectivity.

We've developed this team of regional advisors who can troubleshoot problems in any part of Australia, helping customers with advice and on the ground assessment of their needs, so we can provide a solution.

- Mike Maron, Telstra regional general manager, northern NSW

"Solutions may be available remotely, but in a lot of cases, it may involve a field visit to the customer," Mr Marom said.

"A recent example of this was in an area of north west NSW which suddenly had a massive amount of interference to the mobile signal, and our advisors in the area discovered an ambulance depot had put up an aerial next to our tower which was interfering with coverage."

Mr Marom said the challenges throughout 2020, including bushfires and other natural disasters, followed by COVID-19, had highlighted the need for more reliable communications.

"Telstra is working on providing better coverage, whether it's for kids who are studying from home, or people conducting business from the home.

"It's brought to the forefront, the need for better connectivity, as well as the different options that are available."

The rollout of 5G technology will allow for better coverage in rural areas, with about 35 per cent of Australia's population already having access to the 5G network.

"Where we're upgrading areas to 5G also upgrading and increasing bandwidth on 4G devices, which will improve capacity in the network for much quicker delivery and a more reliable service," Mr Marom said.

"With 5G, there are important developments with telemedicine and the ability to consult with practitioners remotely, as well as being able to do things in real time remotely, which is incredibly important for many industries, including agriculture.

"The 5G network will assist in Internet of Things (IoT) and assist in machine to machine learning and technology.

"We are committed to providing world's best technology for our customers across regional Australia and plan to cover 75pc of Australia's population by the end of next year.

"This will mean even more regional cities and communities getting the benefit of better mobile connectivity through both 5G as well as increased speed and bandwidth on our 4G network."

This is advertiser content for Telstra.