HELLO: Chilcotts Grass resident and business owner Graham Tickle pictured in his home office where there are often issues with mobile phone coverage.
HELLO: Chilcotts Grass resident and business owner Graham Tickle pictured in his home office where there are often issues with mobile phone coverage. Jacklyn Wagner

Getting a mixed reception

MOBILE reception, even on the Northern Rivers, is not reliable enough, says business owner Graham Tickle.

He owns three Athlete’s Foot stores – at Lismore, Ballina and Grafton – and uses his mobile as his main form of communication.

At the moment he is restricted to one carrier, Telstra, because the others don’t have good coverage at his Chilcotts Grass home.

“It would be good to be able to shop around and get better deals,” he said.

“But the kids are on Optus and their phones drop out all the time.

“When we get visitors, they sometimes have to go out on to the veranda or to the top of the driveway to get reception. We also drive a lot between Grafton and Lismore, but my wife won’t go on the Summerland Way in case she breaks down.”

But that situation could soon change for Mr Tickle and others on the Northern Rivers with patchy mobile phone coverage.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority this week announced it had issued 972 new spectrum licences to Optus in regional and remote areas.

All the sites are existing tower sites.

ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said there was a high level of demand from the industry for additional spectrum.

There will be a second round of licensing after Telstra’s applications are assessed. Mr Tickle said it was good news.

“To be honest, there should be coverage all along the eastern seaboard. There should be no blackspots,” he said.

Locations to have improved coverage will include Evans Head, Knockrow, Woodburn, Ballina, Lennox Head, Alstonville, Kyogle, Lismore, Goonellabah, Casino, Byron Bay, Tintenbar and Tyagarah.



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