THE notoriously bad mobile phone coverage at Bushy Park has come into sharp focus as people try to do the right thing by checking-in at local businesses and venues for COVID-19 tracing purposes. The town’s mobile phone reception has long been an issue, especially for those on the Telstra network.
Some parts of Bushy Park have reasonable connectivity to the mobile phone network, but others have next to none, particularly on Gordon River Rd. The problem has become more apparent in recent weeks since the State Government made it compulsory to use the Check in TAS mobile phone app when visiting a growing number of businesses, workplaces and events.
Since July it has also been compulsory for a range of organisations and businesses to register to use the Check in TAS app and display a QR code for scanning with a mobile phone. But people trying to check-in at places like the Bushy Park Market, Glenora District School or the Bushy Park Roadhouse, frequently receive an error message either asking them to try again or to wait while the app tries to find their location.
“Don’t shoot the messenger” says a notice on the door of the roadhouse, adding “we have to sign in, too”, while a sign at the market advises “This QR code probably will not work as the market is in a mobile blackspot, however we are required to display it.” The same blackspot has long been the bane of the local school, where the office eftpos machine can only connect to the mobile network while placed on a window ledge.
Venues and events displaying the Check in TAS code, including the Bushy Park places mentioned above, also provide an opportunity to manually sign-in on paper.
Federal Member for Lyons, Brian Mitchell, said Bushy Park was one of a number of areas in the sprawling Lyons electorate that suffers from poor connectivity. “We’ve been trying for eight years to get the Liberal government to take regional mobile coverage more seriously,” he said. “Bushy Park is effectively a dead zone. The mobile black spot program is behind schedule and simply isn’t delivering enough service to close the widening digital divide between regions and cities.”
Check-in details are stored with the Tasmanian Department of Health for 28 days before being deleted and will only be accessed by Public Health staff if contact-tracing is needed due to a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the community. Should a person be confirmed as having COVID-19, the health department will be able to access information about the places that person visited while they were infectious. More information about Check in TAS.