Telstravictim
Level 3: Gumshoe

remote area coverage

Answered

I recently went up along the Cape York coast & found a non-existent mobile phone/broadband coverage.

My friends & I could not get the weather, we had to call passing ships to get updates.  Even on VHF Channel 16 at times it was difficult to get the weather.  Years ago, when we had OTC Seaphone & later, Analog phones, we could keep in touch but not now with 4G.

My question is, could Telstra place boosters at the regularly serviced light beacons ?  Could Telstra work with AMSA to bring the internet data service into this Century ?

What I am getting at is why disband a service that worked & replace it with nothing ?

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Jupiter
Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity
Accepted Solution

Re: remote area coverage

As far as the regulations go, you would need to submit a proposal to the ACMA to start the process to get a change looked at. There are still large technical limitations on current mobile phone technology and at sea coverage, so it's not a fix-all solution.

 

Moving to where you are with an Analog phone six years ago? That is pretty impressive since the Analog phone network in Australia was shut down in September 2000. Think you must mean a 2G (GSM) phone.

 

The terrain around Cooktown is not conducive to mobile phone coverage and if you were in a boat to the east of Cooktown, I would be surprised if you got any coverage. Would need to place a tower on the top of Mt Cook.

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.

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Jupiter
Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity

Re: remote area coverage

The Seaphone service was replaced by Satellite phones. see Telstra - Satellite mobiles

 

Given that a mobile phone transmitter costs upwards of $250k each and then you would need to be able to get a signal to each of them, it's not really a practical solution. Especially since a transmitter at Sea Level has a very limited range (that's why they are put on towers, or the roof of tall buildings).

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.
Telstravictim
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: remote area coverage

Hi Jupiter,

thank you for your reply.  about ten years ago I spoke with some Telstra technicians about the cost of boosters & I was told that then they were about $8000 as opposed to actual transmitter towers.  I recall a construction company which brought their own booster to the island which is no more than 6 metres above sea level & it worked nicely. They told they paid $900 for the booster.

Of course, services have to be paid for but what about when you don't receive the service yet you still get charged ?

As I stated earlier, there are a number of light beacons on various headlands along the coats, some of them a considerable height above sea level, could not boosters be installed there at less cost ?  It could certainly improve the signal in those areas.  When travelling near Cape Flattery silica Mine we get signal.  Would this company have a transmission tower or a booster that enables picking up a signal ?  One would think that in this day & age of technology boosters would be a minor bit of infrastructure.

Jupiter
Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity

Re: remote area coverage

The Cape Flattery Silica Mine has a 3G only Tower. Minesites generally pay Telstra for infrastructure to be installed for their own benefit.

 

The boosters that are available have a very short range (a  few hundred metres max) due to telecommunications regulations.

 

You can get a Cel Fi booster for your boat, which would give you greater range (the extent of the coverage would depend where you go). They cost about $2000 and they need to be registered.

 

The mobile phone network isn't designed for maritime coverage. That is what radio (VHF) and satellite communications is there for. The frequencies used for modern mobile phone networks do not travel far enough and once you get away from the major population centres, the towers are too far apart for it to be practical.

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.
Telstravictim
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: remote area coverage

Thanks for the explanation Jupiter,

We're aware of VHF vs phone however, we don't get coverage even on land & when anchored off beaches.  My home is 9 km inland (Cooktown) & even with a 7db gain antenna I & my neighbours get only 1 bar of signal yet I have a 4G tower only about a km away & another 10 km away.  When I first moved here with my old Analog phone & mobile broadband six years ago I had full bars on the modem.

My friend could not get satellite signal & threw his satellite into the sea in frustration (& he is a personal friend of the Telstra Chairman_.  I know several people who are not using their satellite phones anymore because of the high costs.

re "The boosters that are available have a very short range (a  few hundred metres max) due to telecommunications regulations."  Isn't it time these regulation were reviewed in the interest of safety ?

Jupiter
Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity
Accepted Solution

Re: remote area coverage

As far as the regulations go, you would need to submit a proposal to the ACMA to start the process to get a change looked at. There are still large technical limitations on current mobile phone technology and at sea coverage, so it's not a fix-all solution.

 

Moving to where you are with an Analog phone six years ago? That is pretty impressive since the Analog phone network in Australia was shut down in September 2000. Think you must mean a 2G (GSM) phone.

 

The terrain around Cooktown is not conducive to mobile phone coverage and if you were in a boat to the east of Cooktown, I would be surprised if you got any coverage. Would need to place a tower on the top of Mt Cook.

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.

View solution in original post

Telstravictim
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: remote area coverage

Hi Jupiter,

2G well, yes.  Everyone just called it the Analog system.  You raised an interesting point with your reference to coverage.  I get a perfect signal at Endeavour Reef about 50km SE of Cooktown yet I get nothing on the way from Cktwn to Cooktown Airport & then only 1 bar 2km from the airport.

No signal at Archer point about 20 km S of Cktwn. No signal on the boat in Endeavour River 2km from the airport.

When i say no coverage at Sea I don't mean tens of miles off the coast, I'm talking about half a km to about 5 km off the coast, many times inside the direct line of headlands.

Is there any way you could provide a link for the actual 4G coverage of cape York ?  I heard that last year a transmitter tower was placed at Archer river but it's for Optus use & 000 only ??

What would be the most reasonable distance of the 4G signal to be expected to extend off the coast ?

What other alternatives would be available in a technological sense at this time ?  Who is responsible for the VHF service ?

Jupiter
Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity

Re: remote area coverage

2G was the first Digital system. I have never heard anybody call it the Analog system, that was something totally different (AMPS).

 

The Telstra coverage maps are at Our Coverage & Rollout Maps - Telstra

You can also check out the location and frequencies used of towers at rfnsa.com.au

 

If you had perfect line of sight to the tower with no obstructions, then the theoretical maximum is 100km (will potentially increase to 200km on certain towers by 2024) from the tower. It also depends greatly on the handset. A "blue tick" handset would be expected to work at a greater distance.

 

Endeavour Reef would most likely be serviced from the tower at Degarra.

 

Nobody is "responsible" for the VHF service as such. It is regulated by the ACMA and AMSA under ITU guidelines.

In Australia, Channel 67 is the Maritime Weather Channel. If you are in operating in an area where there is little traffic, then a more powerful maritime radio might be required, or switch to MF/HF with have more range

 

Have a look at the Australian Maritime Safety Authority website for more information.

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.
Telstravictim
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: remote area coverage

Jupiter 

Many thanks for all the info.  I'll leave it at that.

All the best

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