In today’s connected world, there is nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear than not having mobile coverage.
But now one of the most iconic watering holes in the country – The Pub With No Beer, made famous by the Slim Dusty hit song of the same name – is no longer the pub with no mobile coverage.
Taylors Arm, in northern NSW, which is home to the Pub With No Beer, is one of 577 mobile coverage black spots across regional and rural Australia benefitting from new and expanded 3G/4G mobile coverage provided by Telstra as part of the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program.
For publican Wade Clarke, his wife Rachel and young sons Mason and Dax, mobile coverage will help transform the way they run their thriving family business.
Until now they have relied solely on a WIFI service to operate everything from their EFTPOS and sales to helping customers upload the memories of their visit to social media.
On top of pouring beers and serving customers, Wade and Rachel also have to operate as telephone operators, running a handset around the pub anytime someone calls.
And when you run the most famous country pub in Australia, you get plenty of calls.
If they are working outside unloading stock, cleaning the tables or changing the kegs, they have no way to get service and the call to the fixed line simply goes unanswered.
Too often they have to say sorry to their customers who, having made the trek to the famous pub, are unable to call family and friends to tell them where they are.
Having mobile coverage will change all that, and for the Pub With No Beer, which attracts thousands of tourists a year, the impact will be significant.
That is especially so when you consider the Pub With No Beer is more than just a watering hole – it is the heartbeat of a proud local community.
This is not just where the locals come together for a drink, it is where they come to get their milk, bread and eggs, where they get famous home-made pizzas and where the hordes of trail bike riders who visit the area on weekends come in for lunch and to use the pub’s stock of fuel cans to re-fuel their bikes.
Mobile coverage means locals will now have the convenience of being able to speak with family, friends, business colleagues and emergency services from wherever they are without having to race home to the use their fixed service or worrying about missing important calls.
In fact the only downside Wade can see is that a few regulars may now not be able to easily duck a call if they sneak out from home for a quiet drink before dinner.
But at least now Wade won’t have to be the one covering on the other end of the line.