National Farmers' Federation concerned
Brett Heffernan, general manager of public affairs for the National Farmers' Federation, is not sure if 57 Advocates will be enough to allay the concerns of Australians living in regional and remote areas.
"I don't know, I certainly hope so...I understand they have a new hotline, so we are certainly urging our members and rural Australians who are encountering problems to advise Telstra of them so they can be rectified as quickly as possible," he said.
"Telstra now have 3 months up their sleeve to fix the standing concerns that rural Australians have had, not only about coverage issues because that isn't the only issue, but that service delivery issue in terms of handsets, car kits, antennas and all those sorts of things that actually enable them to access the network."
Heffernan said the promise that Next-G will be as good as, if not better, service delivery than CDMA is of particular concern.
He cited a survey the NFF conducted in January after Telstra had made extra Next-G hardware more broadly available. Of the 1200 NSW respondents 71 per cent said that Next-G wasn't up to scratch.
"We certainly hope that the extra personnel on the ground out there will make a difference. At the end of the day we would like Next-G to be as good as, if not better than CDMA right across the board. We certainly recognise that it's impressive technology and it has great application for the business needs of farmers and rural Australians, so we hope they can work out the kinks as quickly as possible," Heffernan said.