Bulahdelah suffers telecom shortfalls as much as the rest

The Small Cell at #80 Stroud Street, and the Highway tower way off in the distance.

MOBILE phone coverage in Bulahdelah suffers from the same critical infrastructure shortfalls as all other towns across the Myall Coast.

According to the Radio Frequency National Site Archive (RFNSA), there are three mobile ‘towers’ in Bulahdelah.

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The first, and biggest, is the highway tower (site 2423002) which holds all three telcos (Optus 3G, 4G+; Telstra: 3G, 4GX, 5G; Vodafone 4G), as its primary role is to service its stretch of the Pacific Highway, rather than the nearby town of 1500 people.

The second, and perhaps most useful to Bulahdelah’s small businesses, is the Small Cell (2423016), located at #80 Stroud Street, in the middle of the commercial precinct, but it only carries Telstra 4GX and 5G.

As reported before, Small Cells are significantly lower-powered than proper towers, and usually have a coverage radius of around 200 metres.

The third mobile site on RFNSA’s map is neither a Small Cell nor a Tower, but, in fact, just a service receiver (2423009), physically quite small, attached to the side of the Bulahdelah phone exchange at #88 Stroud Street.

Its role is primarily to provide coverage to telco personnel who would need it if there is a problem with the landlines coming into the exchange.

The 2423009 unit would only have very limited coverage of a few metres, and should not be realistically considered as part of the civilian-access cell network, as it is simply marked “Telstra”, with no 3G/4G/5G indications, according to RFNSA information.

The fact that the two smaller units are located within 135 metres of each other also strongly indicates that only one is for civilian use, the other as a backup for the exchange.

Much about the publicly available information is open to misinterpretation, however greater clarification means a better-informed populace, who can take it to their representatives in government, such as the people of Pindimar/Bundabah and Karuah did when they summoned Federal MP David Gillespie earlier this year, in hopes of gaining some voice in the Rural Telecommunications Review.

This conclusion comes after a comprehensive and educated assessment of all publicly available information on the towns of Hawks Nest/Tea Gardens, Pindimar/Bundabah, North Arm Cove/Carrington/Tahlee, Stroud and Karuah, all published within the last few months.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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