Friday, 04 October 2019 11:39

Mobile phone boost for NSW Central Coast train commuters Featured

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Train commuters on trains between Hornsby and Wyong on the NSW Central Coast will have greater mobile phone connectivity with completion of the first stage of upgrades to mobile coverage and free Wi-Fi at stations as part of the Federal Government’s mobile blackspot program.

The Federal Government is investing $12 million on the Central Coast mobile coverage and Wi-Fi project with an additional $4 million contribution from the NSW Government and $13 million from Telstra.

The first stage of upgrades has delivered a new mobile base station at Narara and free Wi-Fi at Lisarow, Mount Colah and Tuggerah train stations, while work is continuing along the rail corridor to progress the next stages of the project.

Federal Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, announced completion of the first stage rollout on Friday with the Federal Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks, and Sydney Trains chief executive, Howard Collins.

Wicks said around one in four people living on the Central Coast commute to Sydney by train every weekday, a journey that can take more than two hours each way.

“Sitting idle on a train is just not productive for commuters who need to stay connected to work and family,” Wicks said.

“I have heard from hundreds of commuters about how continuous mobile coverage will improve their daily lives and it’s good to be here to help launch the first stage of services.”

“This important project will deliver greater connectivity and productivity benefits for commuters along the 68-kilometre Central Coast rail corridor. The first of 22 planned mobile base stations is now online with free Wi-Fi being rolled out at 19 train stations between Hornsby and Wyong,” Minister Fletcher said.

“Building new mobile infrastructure reduces mobile black spots along this busy rail corridor and allows passengers to catch up on work or the news, and stay in touch with friends and family, while in transit.”

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the switch on was “an important example of cooperation between the Federal and NSW governments”.

“We are pleased to see that work along the rail corridor is underway and services are starting to be delivered. We know how many commuters rely on their travel time on the train to work remotely, so this will certainly be a big win for them.”

Telstra Commercial Engineering Executive Sri Amirthalingam said Telstra will provide mobile infrastructure including new mobile stations and in-tunnel coverage along “some very challenging terrain”.

“Telstra is excited to be working with the NSW and Federal Governments on this project. Our investment in this initiative will see us delivering connectivity along this section of the Central Coast rail corridor so Telstra customers can make the most of their commute.”

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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