Boat Harbour still a black spot after Anna Bay phone tower upgrade due to no power

BLACK SPOT: Boat Harbour resident Mark Kelly said excuses on why there was no Telstra service in the area, even after the tower was extended, was "wearing thin".
BLACK SPOT: Boat Harbour resident Mark Kelly said excuses on why there was no Telstra service in the area, even after the tower was extended, was "wearing thin".

A phone tower in Anna Bay that was extended earlier in the year to provide greater mobile reception service to Boat Harbour remains powerless but the reason why is unclear.

Work on extending the existing Telstra phone tower in Fishermans Bay Road began at the end of March but eight months on Boat Harbour remains a reception black spot due to the tower not having been connected to power.

Responding to the Examiner's questions about the powerless tower on Tuesday, when the paper went to print, Telstra stated: "We have commenced construction activities and we are working with our relevant stakeholders to complete necessary approvals to have our facility up and running".

A Telstra spokesperson said an "exact time frame" on when the tower would be 'up and running' could not be provided.

On Wednesday, Telstra further stated: "The installation and structure for this tower is now complete".

"We had some late complications associated with possible changes regarding power supply to the site. We are currently working with relevant stakeholders to get this site up and working. We appreciate the concerns of the local community and can assure them that we are working as quickly as possible to have the site up and ready for service."

Paterson MP Meryl Swanson, who has previously advocated on behalf of residents to have the tower extended, said she was liaising with Telstra about the issue.

"I understand Telstra have completed the work and we are waiting for this to be connected," Ms Paterson said.

"I'm working to have this issue resolved as soon as possible. I have reached out to Ausgrid and I'm awaiting advice on the connection date."

The Examiner sought comment from Ausgrid who declined to provide a response.

Boat Harbour resident Mark Kelly said he considered himself lucky to have what little mobile coverage he does at his home knowing his neighbours just door up get none at all. He said the lack of mobile reception was a safety concern.

The view of the Telstra tower from Mark Kelly's home. The tower is located off Fisherman's Bay Road in Anna Bay.

The view of the Telstra tower from Mark Kelly's home. The tower is located off Fisherman's Bay Road in Anna Bay.

"It's a real safety issue having no mobile reception out here," he said. "We are surrounded by bush and, especially after the conditions we experienced recently, there's a significant fire risk going into summer.

"Everyone is encouraged to have the RFS Fires Near Me app but it doesn't help when you have no reception. It also doesn't help if the RFS sent out text alerts about fires because we don't receive them."

Mr Kelly said he has been in correspondence with Telstra about the reception issue since the tower was upgraded, the last time on November 8, but had received no clarification on when it would be resolved.

"It's not as if this has been going on for a few weeks it has been years now," he said. "Yes there's a tower but goodness knows when we will be able to use it."

In August, Port Stephens Council approved a development application by Optus to construct a mobile phone base station comprising a 25m monopole and associated infrastructure at the same Fishermans Bay Road site as the Telstra tower's location.

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