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Eight days without mobile signal is more than a nuisance- it can be a matter of life or death

Susanna Freymark

For eight days last month Bonalbo had no mobile phone reception.

Telstra Regional general manager Michael Marom said the issues with 3G and 4G coverage in Bonalbo were fixed on Friday, September 30.

“Landlines and NBN services weren’t impacted during this time.” Mr Marom said.

“We’re sorry for the loss of service during this time. Telstra technicians worked on site for a number of days to resolve this complex issue, which was found to be a damaged fibre cable approximately 15km from the local exchange.”

The problem  is – the problem keeps happening. Mobile reception in parts of the bush is woeful at times.

And it isn’t only an inconvenience, it can be life threatening.


A resident who asked to remain anonymous said a man who had a family member become became ill was unable to reach the ambulance service.

“A local person whose family member became unwell suddenly during the night was unable to call triple zero for an ambulance in Bonalbo.

“His phone flashed SOS only but he couldn’t get the call to connect. He ended up driving his family member to the local hospital himself.

“The sick man needed a  transfer to a larger hospital and Bonalbo MPS (as they had working landlines) contacted NSW Ambulance control centre to try and organise this.

The lack of mobile signal meant the ambulance service in Bonalbo could not be contacted by NSW Ambulance.

Ambos in Bonalbo can be contacted only on mobile phones at night. The station has ambos there during the day, but at night they go home and are available for emergencies by phone.

Unless the mobile phone service is down.

“Happily all ended well but this could easily have been a different story,” the resident said.

Bonalbo resident Neville Lee said he had lodged a complaint with Telstra.

“They don’t care,” Neville said.

Bonalbo has it all except you. And a decent  phone  signal. Photo: Susanna Freymark


A satellite phone or use of a satellite sleeve which turns a mobile phone into a satellite one can be used in remote areas or when phone signal is down.

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