Telstra will begin working next month on the provision of mobile coverage in the Geelong rail tunnel, the company said in a statement today. A critical part of the work is expected to be completed by the end of June.
The funds for the work come from the Victorian Government Regional Rail Connectivity Project which will spend $18 million to provide coverage along the state`s five busiest rail lines: Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo. Traralgon and Seymour.
Providing coverage for the Geelong line will include building two new mobile base stations at Little River East and Tarneit, and co-locating on a new site at Little River South.
Telstra, Optus and Vodafone will fund construction of the required mobile base stations so that the Victorian Government can use its investment on the in-train repeaters.
Telstra chief operations officer Robyn Denholm said: "Telstras mobile network covers most of the Geelong line already. Today we are announcing that we will improve coverage for commuters inside the newer V/Line carriages.
The importance of mobile connectivity continues to grow, which is why this project is so significant. We know increased coverage is a priority for our customers and for businesses in regional Australia and that is what this project will deliver.
Its something our customers have been asking for. Rail patronage is up and people want to use their devices in a reliable way on the train. On the Geelong line alone, 7.62 million passenger trips were made last financial year.
The project will involve installing about 400 metres of cabling, and two state-of-the-art highly directional antennas, placed at either end of the tunnel to improve and extend coverage inside the tunnel. Work will take place during hours when trains are not running.
With Geelong continuing to see its population surge, and train patronage rising, mobile coverage will further help commuters balance work and life by being able to make valuable use of their commute time doing emails or video conferencing..or even relax and listen to music or watch their favourite TV show, Denholm said.
Our participation in this project highlights our ongoing commitment to investing in regional Australia and providing our customers with the best coverage on the biggest network."
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