Telstra will soon deliver mobile coverage inside the Geelong rail tunnel, with the project scheduled to begin next month. The work is part of the Victorian Government Regional Rail Connectivity Project, an $18 million investment to deliver mobile coverage to the state’s five busiest rail lines – Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Traralgon and Seymour.
Telstra is working to deliver improved coverage along the rail line including the construction of two new mobile base stations at Little River East and Tarneit, and also co-locating on a new site at Little River South.
In Geelong today Telstra Chief Operations Officer Robyn Denholm said a critical part of the project, to deliver coverage inside the Geelong rail tunnel, will begin next month and is expected to be completed by the end of June.
“Telstra’s mobile network covers most of the Geelong line already. Today we are announcing that we will improve coverage for commuters inside the newer V/Line carriages,” she said.
“The importance of mobile connectivity continues to grow, which is why this project is so significant. We know increased coverage is a priority for our customers and for businesses in regional Australia and that is what this project will deliver.
“It’s something our customers have been asking for. Rail patronage is up and people want to use their devices in a reliable way on the train. On the Geelong line alone 7.62 million passenger trips were made last financial year.”
The project will involve the instalment of approximately 400 metres of cabling, and two state-of-the-art highly directional antennas, placed at either end of the tunnel to improve and extend coverage inside the tunnel. Work will take place outside train operating hours.
“With Geelong continuing to see its population surge, and train patronage rising, mobile coverage will further help commuters balance work and life by being able to make valuable use of their commute time doing emails or video conferencing… or even relax and listen to music or watch their favourite TV show,” Denholm said.
In 2017 Australians used about 40 per cent more data on the Telstra Mobile Network than last year.
Victoria is the first state to have carrier-approved in-train technology designed to repeat the signal from nearby mobile base stations to ensure the signal can be received by passengers in each carriage.
Telstra, along with Optus and Vodafone, has agreed to fund construction of the required mobile base stations to provide the best result for commuters and allow the Victorian Government to focus on its investment in providing in-train repeaters.
“Our participation in this project highlights our ongoing commitment to investing in regional Australia and providing our customers with the best coverage on the biggest network,” Denholm said.