King Island major transmission upgrade to soon be completed

Media Release, 19 January 2016

Telstra will soon complete a major upgrade of the local King Island transmission to better service local residents and businesses with their communication needs.

The transmission, between King Island and Tasmania, is the link that provides the island with landline phones, internet and 3G mobile services.

When finished, the upgrade will mean improved internet services during peak periods, including afternoons and busy holiday periods and significantly faster mobile data speeds. The upgrade will also improve the existing mobile network and allow for the introduction of 4G services in the near future.

Telstra Tasmania Area General Manager Michael Patterson said, as the sole provider of communications on the island, Telstra is committed to continuing to maintain and upgrade the network to meet the needs of residents and businesses.

“This is great news for everybody concerned on King Island,” he said.

“For several months we have been speaking with the local council, customers and the business community about our plans. The importance of reliable communications enabling them to do their day-to-day work cannot be understated.

“Like the rest of Tasmania, the King Island economy is continuing to grow, particularly on the back of its seafood, beef and dairy industries. Golf is now also beginning to form a critical part of tourism for the island as well. Reliable telecommunications help to facilitate this business and tourism growth and I’m proud we are able to support that.”

Work to upgrade the transmission link began before Christmas, and is likely to be finished by June 2016.

The residents of King Island will benefit from the upgraded transmission link with improved peak speeds and greater capacity. This project will improve customer experience by providing:

  • A much improved internet experience with quicker response times and less buffering on streaming/downloads,
  • Access to significantly greater peak speeds, and
  • More consistent speeds especially during periods of high traffic demand.

It will also provide a much needed core capacity for Telstra to more confidently plan radio network enhancements for the Island in the future.

“King Island and the rest of Tasmania are a critical part of our plan to have 99 per cent of the Australian population able to receive 4G mobile coverage by June 2017,” Mr Patterson said.

“In total, over three years to June 2017, we expect to have invested more than $5 billion into the Telstra mobile network, which is the network without equal – especially when it comes to places like King Island.”

The transmission upgrade follows several months of conversations with the King Island Council, who has advocated on behalf of local businesses and residents.

King Island Council Acting Mayor Jim Cooper said the upgrade would assist in meeting tourism and business demand for more reliable communications that had come under recent strain with the significant boost in tourism numbers.

“Through a major boost in visitor numbers, our previous service levels were simply not able to meet reasonable outcomes,” he said.

“Our extensive lobbying was driven by necessity and community expectations, and we are very happy with the response that this announcement outlines. Telstra has stepped up to the mark, and proposed delivery of what promises to be an effective service level.”