Tuesday, 28 September 2021 11:35

RMIT expert seeks funds to study mobile regional telecom issues

Dr Mark Gregory: "High throughput is key to good network performance, but this information is not shared by carriers." Dr Mark Gregory: "High throughput is key to good network performance, but this information is not shared by carriers." Supplied

Well-known network expert Dr Mark Gregory of RMIT is making a bid to raise funds for a performance study of mobile regional telecommunications.

He said any donations would help researchers at RMIT to investigate and help drive better service and regulation.

In a statement, Dr Gregory said coverage and throughput (download and upload speeds) were the two factors essential to determining the performance of mobile telecommunications.

But, he added, though carriers were keen to talk about mobile network coverage, that only showed the reach of a signal from a particular mobile tower, and not the performance of the network as a whole.

"High throughput is key to good network performance, but this information is not shared by carriers and there are no industry or government regulations on minimum throughput within a coverage area," Dr Gregory said.

"To ensure Australians can make an informed decision about which carrier to use to receive true value for money, RMIT researchers are seeking support to establish and operate regional mobile telecommunications performance data collection points across Australia for three months.

"Data captured will identify what standards around minimum throughput and performance are required, especially for residents in regional areas where mobile network performance may be limited."

The data that is gathered will be shared with policymakers "to drive the development and implementation of new regulations that cover throughput, capacity and performance of mobile networks, particularly where infrastructure has been partially funded by taxpayers".

In a submission made to the review of regional telecommunications, Dr Gregory said: "There are three fundamental and measurable parameters that, when combined, provide the basis upon which judgements about mobile telecommunications can be made.

"The parameters are cost, access and performance. Information is readily available about the first two parameters. Quantifiable information is not available about

"Regional mobile telecommunications is further complicated by factors including population density, the cost of transit or backhaul and infrastructure subsidies."

Aiding Dr Gregory in the research will be Dr Shuo Li, a member of the Network Engineering Research Group at RMIT who has experience working on mobile telecommunications projects.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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