As the election thermometer rises, Telstra has upped its expansion of mobile services in Western Australia and launched its network's first solar-powered mobile base station which will deliver CDMA coverage to the Roebuck Plains area in the state's north west.
Consisting of 60 solar panels, the all-weather base station is intended to supply power continuously in an area as widely reputed for sudden cyclonic conditions as continuous sunshine.
After a fortnight of explaining the resignation of Telstra chairman Bob Mansfield and further hikes in line-rental charges, Communications and IT Minister Daryl Williams made short work selling the solar innovation to voters in his home state.
"This valuable facility is part of the government’s $21.8 million 'Towns over 500' scheme, which provides new or extended coverage to 132 regional, rural and remote towns across Australia," Williams said.
The facility will extend terrestrial mobile phone coverage from Broome 200km towards Port Hedland and 100km towards Derby and, with handheld coverage, will extend for up to 25km and up to 30km for vehicle-based systems.
Meanwhile, Australia's largest state will get another mobile program dubbed Wireless West to patch gaps and extend mobile coverage, with 45 new mobile phone base stations spruiked to "provide in-fill coverage of the existing CDMA network".
While the Labor party immediately welcomed the addition of new services, it will undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on where the government chooses to spend its reinvigorated passion for services upgrades.