City of Melville chief to write to Telstra over black spot so bad residents have to leave home for calls

Melville deputy Mayor Matt Woodall and Leeming resident Peter Price. Telstra customers in the area say they receive little to no mobile coverage. The Telco says it is working to address the problem. Photo: Bruce Hunt
Melville deputy Mayor Matt Woodall and Leeming resident Peter Price. Telstra customers in the area say they receive little to no mobile coverage. The Telco says it is working to address the problem. Photo: Bruce Hunt

A MOBILE black spot that has forced Telstra customers outside their homes to make and take calls is being addressed, according to the telco.

Telstra customers living north of Beasley Road and south of Gracechurch Crescent, between Beasley Oval and Banksia Park Primary School, say they have little or no mobile reception inside their own homes.

Complaints directed to Melville Deputy Mayor Matt Woodall, after residents failed to find any help from Telstra itself, revealed some were forced outside and across the street just to make and receive calls, “and even then the signal is often weak”.

But a solution could be around the corner with Telstra area general manager Boyd Brown describing a new mobile base station in Leeming as a high priority for the company.

In a statement he said Telstra was aware of coverage issues and was currently finding a suitable site to construct the new tower.

“We are keen to build a new mobile base station to support the Leeming community,” he said.

“Our technical teams are now sourcing the best site in which to maximise mobile coverage for this area.”

Mr Brown did not say when it could be operational.

Like others in the area, Leeming resident Peter Price said changing carriers had not been an option because he works in remote areas where Telstra is the only provider offering service.

He said a mobile booster which had cost about $1000 offered some assistance, but believed it was a measure he should not have had to take considering the suburb is just 13 kilometres from the City.

The number of emails to Mr Woodall prompted him to put forward a notice of motion at Tuesday’s council meeting.

In it he asked for Melville chief executive Shayne Silcox to write to Telstra requesting they investigate the issue.

His motion was carried 8 – 4, but not before debate about whether it was even an issue the City should get involved in.

Councillor Nick Pazolli, one of two to speak against it on Tuesday night, said it was “not for us as a council to interfere in these commercial processes”.

Mr Woodall said he was not proposing any sort of interference or a huge amount of council money to fix the problem.

“I’m not proposing we build a new telephone tower, simply saying the CEO write a very brief letter to the Telstra CEO asking if Telstra can do anything about this,” he said.

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