Tech-savvy skiers and boarders, streaming their jumps, stunts and falls across social media and other technology platforms are contributing to unprecedented mobile data use this winter.

In recent years Telstra has seen data traffic on its mobile network continue to grow as technology in new mobile handsets, wearables and GoPro cameras allows for live streaming, and seamless upload of high definition video and photos.

At Victoria’s largest Alpine resort, Mt Buller, data usage has more than doubled each year since 2014. This year ski visitors and residents will download 250GB of mobile 4G data a day, and a further 85GB over the 3G network during the peak snow season.

Telstra recently completed a backhaul upgrade and 4G and 4GX upgrades to mobile base stations around Mt Buller which will provide local businesses and tourists with faster network access this ski season.

“We know that many Victorian towns and communities are dependent on nearby ski resorts for a significant part of their yearly income. We’re continuing to invest in new network technology and equipment to support this growth,” Telstra Area General Manager Steve Tinker said.

“The increases in data use we are seeing can be directly correlated to new phones and technology that is becoming more readily available. Our super-fast 4GX network can allow for high definition streaming and uploads as people ski, snowboard or play.

“Social media is immediate. And our network helps to deliver that immediacy to customers who can share their experiences to friends and family as things happen live, not back in the lodge at the end of the day.”

The completed upgrades at Mt Buller is in addition to a Victorian program of mobile and fixed investment to support the growth of visitors and cater for increased demand on local businesses during the snow season.

The program of work covered Victoria’s biggest ski resort in Mt Buller and also encompassed surrounding towns and villages in other areas:

• A 4G and 4GX high capacity mobile upgrade to base stations in around Mt Buller.
• 4GX mobile upgrades to surrounding towns including Mansfield, Merrijig, Omeo, Harrietville, Marysville, Bright and Dinner Plain.
• Increased capacity to the existing ADSL network for homes and businesses both on and off the mountains in areas including Yea, Hotham Heights, Harrietville, Flowerdale, Dinner Plain, Bright, and Mt Beauty.

The investments, completed just prior to the opening of the ski season, were made to co-incide with peak ski season across the July school holidays and August when the snow hits its greatest depths.

“With this investment we’re providing local businesses with improved connectivity while providing our customers who live or holiday in the area with a faster network so they can stay connected on the mountain,” Mr Tinker said.

“When people are visiting regional and country areas of Australia they have an expectation the standard and reliability of communication is similar to that of major cities. Telstra is the only network that can deliver this.”

Buller Ski Lifts Marketing Manager Jacinta Canestra said the use of mobiles was changing the way skiers and boarders viewed snow reports and resort information.

“More than half of Mt Buller’s guests access the website on mobile devices now with only 37 per cent of browsers accessing information via a desktop computer,” she said.

“Reliable mobile coverage also facilitates use of the ‘Mt Buller Live App’ which is widely used and has had 78,000 downloads. An average 1000 visitors are using it at any time during winter.

“They use it to track their runs, find friends, check lift operations and receive live weather updates. They can even view the webcams to check out other parts of the resort in real time.”

Key Facts

• Telstra’s mobile network is largest in Australia, covering more than 2.4 million square kilometres and reaching 99.3% of the Australian population.
• It serves hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of regional and rural Australia not served by any other carrier. And the introduction of 4GX also means Telstra customers have access to one of the world’s fastest mobile networks.

Buller Ski Lifts
• Buller Ski Lifts is increasingly an IT integrated business with lift access, snowmaking, hospitality POS, ticketing and even Ski School lessons all connected online and across the network.
• On busy days Mt Buller’s lift network moves 40,000 skiers and boarders every hour around the resort.
• In peak season Mt Buller can welcome approximately 10,000 guests in resort and most of them will use a mobile device during their visit.
• To respond to the growing demand for data access the resort has expanded the amount of Wi-Fi zones in resort to include most major cafes and restaurants as well as public rest areas such as Alpine Central and Alpine Plaza where you’ll find guests checking in on emails and social media every day.