During the fight for better phone coverage for the Kanimbla Valley and Lowther areas, locals recall a somewhat heated meeting was held at Hampton Halfway Hotel to discuss ongoing black spot issues with a Telstra representative several years back.
It was a very different reception for Telstra on Friday, April 5, as regional general manager for NSW Mike Marom called in to discuss the new tower which would be built to provide new areas of reception in the valley.
Resident and part of the Kanimbla Valley Mobile Phone Black Spot Action Group Jason Green said their social media channels had been full of "delight" since the announcement of the funding for the tower on March 19 this year.
"We've been working as a community for five years to try to ensure better phone coverage in this area," he said.
"Given the topography of the land out here you can have coverage on the peaks and in the valleys you can have basically no service at all. It's been a real concern for a lot of people who haven't been able to ring triple-zero, haven't been able to ring emergency services when they need to."
The project will go ahead as part of a co-investment project between Telstra and the federal government as part of its black spot program.
Telstra's Mr Marom said a final location had not been selected for the tower.
"Coverage is an interesting point because it depends on final location, but at this stage we're looking at coverage which is south-west of the Great Western Highway to complement the site we've currently got in Mount Victoria," he said.
Calare MP Andrew Gee congratulated the residents of the Kanimbla Valley and Lowther for their sustained campaign, which resulted in telcos applying for funds to build a tower for the area in round four mobile black spot program.
"This new funding and this tower has been a true community effort. The folks in this area have been fighting for better mobile phone coverage for years and years," he said.
"A lot of work has gone into not only lobbying the telcos but also the federal government and the whole community came together to make this happen. I think it just shows when a community is united you can achieve really great things."
Mr Gee said business and tourism would benefit, not only in the Kanimbla area but in Sofala and Wattle Flat, which would be receiving a 4G satellite small cell base station.
"The folks out here need better phone coverage because they worry about accidents, they need it for business, we've got a lot of tourists using this road now and if we want decentralisation to continue in the bush, we've got to get our country communities connected."
Telstra will be building towers and small cell base stations at 131 locations under round four of the Federal Government Mobile Black Spot Program.
"A small cell is a miniature version of a standard mobile base station and Telstra is using the technology to cost effectively deliver 4G coverage to areas where existing coverage is minimal or not available," Mr Marom said.
"Mobile coverage means people and businesses in regional and remote communities can do things many in the city take for granted. Whether it is streaming sports, movies and television, working remotely or just staying in touch."