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Telstra’s Roaming Ban “Putting Lives At Risk”: Senator

Liberal senator Sarah Henderson says Telstra’s hardline ban on signal tower roaming is “putting lives at risk” in bushfire season.

Telstra currently bans Australian mobile phone users on other networks from jumping between signal towers, a move the ACCC has backed, telling government “the introduction of mobile roaming would inhibit investment in regional communications infrastructure and would not alleviate blackspots.”

This is despite domestic roaming being an accepted practice in the US and Europe.

According to The Australia, Senator Henderson wrote in a letter to Communication Minister Paul Fletcher: “Consumers in many parts of regional Australia are deprived from accessing the best available mobile reception.

“It is entirely improper that in a country as prone to natural disasters as Australia, telecommunications carriers are not required to provide all Australians with access to such critical infrastructure as telecommunications towers during an emergency for the purpose of sending or receiving SMS alerts.

“That companies such as Telstra continue to put their commercial interests ahead of the community interest is not only unacceptable corporate conduct, in my view, but is putting lives at risk.”

Not surprisingly, Telstra struck out against this proposal.

“Telstra has invested significantly in regional Australia over time to improve coverage and offer its customers the best experience,” a spokesman for the company said.

“Regulated roaming is the same as investing in a new farm and being told you have to hand over a chunk of your land and equipment to a competitor.”

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