Farmers from across regional NSW last Thursday called for greater investment in mobile phone infrastructure at the NSW Farmers annual conference in Chatswood.
Farmers attending the conference expressed their general frustration with the current level of mobile reception in their regions.
In 2011 a survey conducted by NSW Farmers revealed that about 70 per cent of farmers across the state had inadequate on-farm mobile phone coverage or no coverage at all.
Chair of the Rural Affairs Committee Sarah Thompson said that an improvement in mobile phone coverage in regional areas had appeared to stagnate.
‘Farmers and residents in regional communities are enthusiastic about the arrival of the National Broadband Network and their ability to access broadband,’ she said.
‘But throughout the NBN process many farmers believe that regional mobile phone black spots have been forgotten.
‘For service providers the decision to expand mobile coverage is a commercial one and because of lower population densities in regional areas expanding coverage is often not considered commercially viable.
‘What farmers would like to see is a dedicated program and funding arrangements to address regional mobile black spots that involves both state and federal governments as well as service providers.
‘Open-access arrangements for network infrastructure would also assist in pricing and customer service for regional users.’