A submission has been made by the Ararat Rural City Council to the Victorian Government, seeking support to improve mobile and internet services in the Tatyoon and Maroona communities.
There are currently no phone towers between Ararat and Lake Bolac, which has created significant gaps in network coverage.
It is estimated that there are 730 square kilometres in the greater Ararat region that have little to no network coverage.
Council chief executive Dr Tim Harrison said the poor coverage is "a big issue", especially during the COVID-19 crisis, as people need to connect for work, school, family.
"Poor mobile coverage is a big issue that places a burden on the lives of many in our rural communities, particularly those in the Tatyoon and Maroona district," he said.
"The social need has been further highlighted by the COVID crisis, with residents depending on reliable connectivity for work, schooling, health support and staying in touch with friends and family."
"Mobile phone coverage is not only essential for day-to-day agribusiness operations, including dealing with buyers and suppliers, but creates opportunities to access on-farm IoT technological advances that are key to collecting real-time crop data and improved traceability."
Dr Harrison said for the unconnected areas of the region to gain network coverage, more infrastructure needs to be built.
"Ararat Rural City has some of the largest unmet mobile and broadband needs in central western Victoria, with many parts of the municipality without access to any network coverage," Dr Harrison said.
"The key to improving connectivity in our region is having the right infrastructure such as towers, base stations and signal boosters in place."
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Dr Harrison said the rural community, which has been left without quality network coverage, deserves better and hopes with the assistance of the Victorian Government, the problem can be fixed.
"Our rural communities are the backbone of the local economy, and this is especially the case in the Tatyoon and Maroona farming district, which supports over 200 businesses including broadacre cropping, sheep livestock and wool production," Dr Harrison continued.
"As key drivers of the local economy, farmers should not have to accept an inferior service. The fact that a relatively small subscription base is prohibitive to attracting private investment from the telcos (telephone companies) alone, demonstrates that there is a role for government investment to fill this gap."
"With this support from the Victorian Government and the Australian Government Mobile Black Spot Program, I am hopeful that co-investment can be secured with the government and a major telco to offer a solution for Tatyoon."
The Victorian Government invited the Ararat Rural City Council to submit its priorities for investment as part of the $500 million Connecting Victoria program.
The Tatyoon and Maroona communities created a petition with 470 signatures to the Australian government seeking support for investment in a new mobile phone tower to provide coverage in the region.
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