Digitalisation, Freight Rail, Major Projects & Infrastructure, Signalling & Communications, Social Governance, Track & Civil Construction

New Inland Rail mobile tower network activated

Inland Rail mobile tower

New mobile network infrastructure at North Star and Gurley in north-western New South Wales, provided by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) as part of the Narrabri to North Star section of Inland Rail, has been activated by Telstra.

Providing improved connectivity for trains operating on the section and, in addition, for residents and businesses, the new mobile tower at North Star will be further upgraded with a new high-speed backhaul link delivered in September to further improve service quality.

Another two local towers will be activated in the coming months at a total cost of $3.4 million to deliver operational connectivity for trains running on the track in the section and to also enhance mobile telecommunications in the rural locations.

The new 50-metre mobile tower at North Star, 90 kilometres northeast of Moree, and the upgraded Gurley base station, 30km south of Moree, will now deliver improved depth of coverage and performance to local homes and businesses, with the fibre backhaul to both also being upgraded to deliver additional capacity.

Telstra is expecting to turn on the new 4G small cell at Croppa Creek, 60km northeast of Moree, in early June and is also planning to begin work on a new mobile tower at Crooble, also around 60km northeast of Moree, in the coming weeks that will deliver new coverage for local homes and businesses.

All the new and upgraded infrastructure being rolled out is being fitted with 5G capable antennae, meaning that local homes and businesses will be able to receive 5G services without additional network upgrades being required in the future.

The work, which is funded by Inland Rail and being delivered by Telstra, will form part of the legacy the Inland Rail project will leave with communities along the alignment to benefit from the improvements for years to come.

As the mobile telecommunications enhancements are rolled out, Telstra will manage the ongoing operations and maintenance once the infrastructure has been delivered.

Inland Rail acting chief executive Rebecca Pickering said she was delighted to see these upgraded and new mobile base stations up and running.

“Inland Rail is being predominantly delivered in regional Australia, meaning there is a prime opportunity for regional Australia to reap the immediate benefits that come with construction,” she said.

Telstra NSW regional general manager Mike Marom said the business was “rapt to have upgraded the mobile base stations at Gurley and North Star to expand network capacity and improve performance to the local area for these communities”.