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Mechanical fault found with phone tower at Southern 80

Telstra says a technical issue with a temporary phone tower set up at Echuca's Victoria Park contributed to coverage issues at the weekend's Southern 80 event.

TRENT HORNEMAN February 14, 2013 4:43am

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Telstra has blamed a mechanical fault with a mobile phone tower for poor phone coverage during the Southern 80 weekend.

Telstra Countrywide area manager for Sunraysia and Northern Victoria Steve Tinker said Telstra had a Cell On Wheels set up at the Victoria Park finish line to improve phone coverage for Southern 80 patrons, participants, organisers and emergency services.

Mr Tinker said the cell broke down on Saturday morning and was not repaired until Saturday evening.

He said while it was unfortunate the temporary system broke down, Telstra was committed to alleviating coverage issues at the event.

‘‘We have invested money into the COW set up to help coverage issues at the finish line. It was unfortunate that the system went down,’’ he said.

Mr Tinker said he felt for the organisers and emergency service crews affected. Echuca police Inspector Martin Dorman and Moama Water Sports Club president Steve Robson said the lack of coverage was frustrating, particularly when responding to race accidents at the weekend.

‘‘I apologise, it is unfortunate, particularly for the race organisers,’’ he said.

Mr Tinker said coverage issues were improved along the river on Sunday, once the service was back to full capacity.

Mr Tinker said Telstra Countrywide was committed to ramping up its mobile coverage for large-scale events such as this.

‘‘When you have a large number of people in a small area, there is always going to be an increased demand for mobile service,’’ he said.

‘‘We noticed a spike in demand on Saturday morning, during the static display in the main street.’’

Moama Water Sports Club has spoken to Telstra regarding the issue and would continue to work with the carrier to help improve coverage for next year’s event.

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