• Networks under pressure

    CROWDED: Beecchworth's Ford Street during this year's Golden Horseshoes' parade, when thousands of tourists were using mobile phones in the town.

    HIGH demand for mobile and data networks during peak tourist attraction times in Beechworth took its toll on Optus users once again over the Easter long weekend.

    Optus customers in the town and district were left with a poor or non-existent service.

    Improved digital communication for regional and rural areas has been subject of an ongoing parliamentary political lobby by Cathy McGowan (MHR Indi) since she was elected nearly three years ago.

    Indigo Shire chief executive Gerry Smith said that both mobile and NBN coverage programs were being rolled out across Indigo Shire.

    “Yackandandah recently had an NBN tower installed with Beechworth on the list for the end of 2017,” he said.

    That seems a long way off for many frustrated Optus users in and around Beechworth.

    Beechworth’s Donna Adams had no reception at all.

    “I couldn’t send emails, text or call my kids,” she said. “It’s not just Easter – it’s all other busy weekends here.”

    Beechworth and District Community Bank manager Gareth Kay also had similar issues.

    “I spoke with Optus last year and they advised it is simply a capacity issue – though Telstra doesn’t seem to suffer the same ‘capacity’ issue,” he said.


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