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Tag: networks

The Pub With No Beer now pub with mobile coverage

featured Network

Posted on July 4, 2017

3 min read

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.

Reinventing the mobile network with software

Tech and Innovation

Posted on June 19, 2017

4 min read

Telstra has joined the xRAN Foundation (eXtensible Radio Access Networks), a group of world leading network operators and vendors dedicated to creating an architecture that brings software control deep into the mobile radio network (the RAN).

I’m lucky enough to work for the Chief Technology Office, the part of Telstra that investigates future technology and what it might be good for. It is part research and development mixed with business strategy, and also exploratory research to ensure we are at the leading edge of our industry. And right now, nothing is inspiring quite so much exploration work the world over as a three letter acronym: SDN or Software Defined Networking.



As exciting as these three letters are (trust me, they are) it’s also daunting and a little bit abstract like “the Cloud” or other IT jargon.

To try and understand it, focus on the first letter. S. Software is disruptive. Among other things, software totally reinvented the mobile phone. A phone from ten years ago had some pretty impressive specs: the Nokia N73 sported a 3 Megapixel camera and claimed among its features “direct upload to Flickr” which by modern standards, is rather quaint. Right now, if I want to upload to Flickr (or Instagram, or imgur, or anything), I just download their app. The hardware, and what I can do with it, is disconnected. It’s abstracted. That’s the power of software.

We already have apps in the network, in one sense. They’re not the sort of apps you’re used to: they’re quite specific to making sure the mobile network runs properly. For instance, there’s a network app that decides whether your phone should connect to 3G or to 4G depending on how good your coverage is. There’s a network app that makes sure a voice call is given enough priority to be a reliable connection. There’s another network app that distributes the load so that not every phone tries to connect to the same tower, overloading it.

But these network apps right now are a bit like that old N73: they come with the box, with instructions written in the massive user manual. The supplier will provide updates every 6 months or so to fix bugs or introduce new features. Different suppliers have different apps, there’s no consistency, and they don’t always work well together.

The xRAN Foundation has demonstrated the feasibility of running applications created by any supplier or network operator on any hardware that meets the xRAN specification. Even better, they can run centrally and manage many radio sites at the same time, and respond to changes at the network level instead of just at the individual site. It’s been called a “robust, interactive abstraction layer between applications and RAN infrastructure”. Abstraction is good, if difficult to achieve! Different companies are great at different things, and abstraction lets you take the best software (like an advanced load management function) and put it on the best hardware, even when they come from different sources.

We’ve joined xRAN Foundation so we can build the network of the future, and make sure that as this standard evolves, it’s ready for use in Australia and on Telstra networks. We’ll be actively involved in creating this standard, not just consuming the boxes when they’re ready! Participating in international bodies like this isn’t always easy for Australian companies – my calendar has filled up with lots of 2 a.m. phone calls – but it’s worth it to stay right on the cutting edge of technology.

When drones and autonomous vehicles are connected to the network, all those network apps will need updating, and we’ll need new network apps too, because a drone flying overhead puts totally different demands on the network compared to your average smartphone. We’d like to bring software right into the network, so that we can innovate, respond quickly and continue to provide a world class mobile network in Australia.

Time to end uncertainty over regional investment


Posted on May 5, 2017

2 min read

Telstra is ready to continue our investment in regional Australia. But we need the ACCC to end the uncertainty and finalise their decision on regulated mobile roaming.

We welcome the ACCC’s draft decision not to declare mobile roaming.

Dozens of community groups, business leaders, local councils and politicians from across the country made a submission to the ACCC. The overwhelming call from regional Australia was that their top priority was encouraging telecommunications investment to improve and extend mobile coverage.

This draft decision is the right one for regional Australian communities because it ensures the industry still has the incentives to invest in improving and extending mobile networks to provide more coverage.

I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to have their say on this critical issue, including the WA Farmers Association, the Country Women’s Association of NSW, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Cotton Australia, Indigenous Remote Communications Australia, the Local Government Association of Queensland and the Isolated Children’s Parents Association.

Last year Telstra committed to keep investing to improve and expand our mobile network in regional, rural and remote areas. Through our own direct investment, as well as co-investment, we expect to see up to $1 billion of investment flow to small towns and regional centres across the country over the next five years.

If this decision is confirmed we will immediately move to expand our 4G coverage to reach 99% of the population by later this year. It also paves the way for ongoing investment in the coming years that would see an additional 1.4 million square kilometres of 4G coverage for regional and rural Australia. This means that about 600 base stations will be upgraded from 3G to 4G giving the Australian population access to a world leading 4G network.

This draft decision means we are one step closer to being able to get on with this exciting work that will have positive impacts on people who live, work and visit regional areas.

New tower switched on in Titjikala, NT


Posted on April 26, 2017

2 min read

As part of a three-year, $30 million co-investment program with the Northern Territory Government, Telstra has this week switched on mobile coverage for the first time in Titjikala, a remote community of approximately 200 people located 130 kilometres south of Alice Springs.

The new Titjikala phone base actively demonstrates our commitment to providing telecommunications services to regional Australia.

Residents of Titjikala are very excited to have mobile coverage in their town, enabling them to better connect with their friends and family across Australia. Through improved access to the internet, it will bring the world to school children in this remote location and also help deliver both economic and social benefits for the township.

Through Telstra’s Reconciliation Action Plan and this joint funding agreement, Telstra has also committed to an additional $4.05 million investment in the Northern Territory over three years to deliver digital literacy initiatives and telehealth services.

Spokesperson for the NT Government and Member for Namatjira, Chansey Paech, says the agreement helped the government to build reliable telecommunications infrastructure in remote communities and “ensure that people who live in remote and regional parts of the Northern Territory gain the same access to services as the people who live in our urban centres.”

Mobile phone coverage means people are better able to develop their own economic opportunities, like establishing tourism ventures.

In an emergency, mobile phone coverage can make a huge difference for people in the bush.”

As part of the launch, our staff visited the local school to talk to the students about technology and cyber safety and some of the potential that this new service could deliver to them. The children also had the chance to talk via Facetime on the 4G network to footballer Cameron Islett from the NT Thunder about school, playing sport and living in Titjikala.

Eight additional new mobile base station sites in remote communities have already been identified, with construction of a new mobile base station in Manyallaluk (one hour north east of Katherine) expected to be completed in June 2017. We will be working with the NT Government to identify additional sites as part of this program.





Tags: networks,

Telstra joins Victorian Government to invest in regional rail mobile coverage


Posted on April 19, 2017

2 min read

Telstra is helping make the ride to and from home a lot more fun for Victorian regional rail commuters.

We know how much everyone loves to be able to use their phones on their commute to and from work.

Whether it’s surfing the net, posting on social, working flexibly or just calling home to let loved ones know you are on the way, it makes the daily trip feel faster and a lot more fun.

For commuters on Victoria’s busiest regional routes, a lack of in-carriage mobile coverage has long been a source of frustration.

But that is set to change.

The Victorian Government has today signalled the start of its $18 million investment to enhance mobile coverage on the state’s five busiest regional rail corridors – Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Traralgon and Seymour – through the Regional Rail Connectivity Project.

Telstra, along with Optus and Vodafone, each contracted with the Victorian Government, agreed to fund construction of the required mobile base stations to provide the best result for commuters and allow the Victorian Government to focus its investment on providing in-train repeaters.

Victoria will be the first state in Australia to have carrier-approved in-train technology designed to repeat the signal from nearby mobile base stations to ensure the signal can be received by passengers inside each carriage.

We are proud to be working with the Victorian Government to help bring this project to life

We have already made significant network investments along these rail links, extending our 4GX footprint as part of our ongoing commitment to regional Australia.

As a result, once the in-train repeaters are installed as part of the Victorian Government’s investment, our customers will have access to in-train coverage for close to 95% of the regional rail routes.

Our further investment in additional infrastructure as part of this project will increase that in-train coverage along the routes to 99% for Telstra customers.

We know that increased coverage is a priority for our customers and for businesses in regional Australia and that is exactly what this project delivers.





Tags: networks, regional,