Logan Digital Infrastructure improvements essential for wellbeing

Logan Digital Infrastructure improvements essential for wellbeing

The Queensland Government’s $2.5 million Digital Infrastructure Grant dedicated to boosting Logan’s digital infrastructure aims to improve connectivity across the city.

Following the grant’s announcement, Logan City Council economic development chair and deputy mayor Jon Raven shared a post to Facebook asking locals to comment on mobile black spots in Logan.

The post was met with more than 230 resident complaints about the mobile reception in various suburbs in Logan.

Cr Raven said one resident claimed she was unable to contact 000 from inside her house in the event of an emergency.

“If you can’t make an emergency call then something is very, very wrong with our telecommunications network,” Councillor Raven said.

Cr Raven said the need for improved connectivity in Logan was recognised by the council early last year.

“In the middle of the pandemic in March 2020 we identified that everyone was working from home, but we weren’t really sure how good our digital infrastructure was in the city,” Cr Raven said.

A council investigation helped to assess what the infrastructure was like suburb-by-suburb and identify gaps where investment was most needed.

Many black spots were discovered in newer and less-developed areas including Park Ridge, Greenbank and Everleigh and areas further south towards Flagstone and Yarrabilba.

“There’s lots of rural, semi-rural and newly-developed areas that don’t have great mobile phone coverage because the Telcos just haven’t put the infrastructure out there,” Councillor Raven said.

“We’ve had a lot of growth in the last five years obviously, and the digital and telecommunications infrastructure just isn’t keeping up with the growth.”

The assessment process revealed the problem affected not only the newer parts of Logan but the entire city, including suburbs like Marsden and Crestmead.

“For whatever reason over decades, Telcos have only really put in just enough towers to cover our population, and not cover them very well,” he said.

In the wake of Covid-19, Cr Raven said having an unreliable mobile phone and internet coverage was no longer an inconvenience, but a critical well-being, mental health, social connection and economic issue.

“If you can’t get reception you can’t work from home, and a lot of people have to work from home now,” he said.

“In 2021, people rely on mobile data and digital infrastructure for their work, to stay connected to their friends and family, and also for security.”

Cr Raven said the 2.5 million dollar fund awarded by the State Government was the first stage investment for improving the digital communications network in Logan and would improve wireless connectivity, mobile phone coverage, and the optical fiber network.

“I still don’t think that will actually solve a lot of the coverage issues we have in the built-up parts of the city that are already established, and I think that’s really on the telecommunications companies,” he said.

Cr Raven said he would be compiling screenshots of the 230+ comments on the facebook post and submit the data to the telecommunication services to raise their awareness of the lack of coverage in Logan.

3G and 4G signals could easily become blocked by objects in the ‘line of sight’ which could be solved by a 5G network, but Logan was a long way off from having good 5G coverage.

“To have a 5G network in our city we need a really good fibre optic network, which is what the Digital Infrastructure and Connectivity does,” he said.

“We want to give Logan the fibre optic it deserves.”

Share your thoughts about this in the Logan West Facebook Group.