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From the CEO - August 4

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August 04,2015 In Snow

Falls Creek – Two Cans and a Piece of String…                    

As a kid growing up watching the Curiosity Show (gone on, admit it, you did too…) they’d often have quirky experiments….they were big fans of liquid nitrogen! One of their experiments  I remember doing,  was getting two old tin cans punching a hole in the bottom of each and then running a knotted piece of string through to the other can. This, when stretched out in full with the line pulled taut became a “telephone” line, where you could speak to someone at the other end… well kind of.

I’d be interested now to understand just how far that experiment and over what distance that trick might work…why you ask? Well, I am a little perplexed at why our current modern technology can’t work as effortlessly as that piece of string did.

As a major state tourist attraction and outdoor recreational venue of choice for all manner of sporting pursuits, there is a need to have infrastructure, particularly of the telecommunication kind, for the user experience to be complete. You can’t upload your selfies, brag on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram etc if the network is jammed or you’ve got no internet (I haven’t got any complaints from anyone about Tinder not working tho! hmmm)

There is without equivocation, a level of reception and service relating to the usability and security of the telecommunication infrastructure that is far from acceptable for many of the visitors (let alone residents and operators) who come to the mountain. Just do an Ookla speedtest on the App if you want proof of my argument.

We get a few complaints at resort management on a whole gamut of issues (we will publish a Top 25 one day!), but a constant when riding the lifts, or talking to stakeholders is about telecommunications. Either call drop outs, black spots, poor download speed, waiting for up to 9 weeks for certain services to be connected (I’m still waiting for my CBD Foxtel and phone service to be connected – it’s only been two months – but I’m still getting the bills) etc…you get the point I’m trying to a make.

Don’t get me wrong, Telstra, has a HUGE job to do and like FCRM management can’t please everyone all the time. However, since the advent of the iPhone (et al) in 2007 we have become nauseously dependency on wifi, mobile devices and internet, and therefore expect to be connected when, how and at all times to the world. There are times many of us don’t want to be contacted, but that is generally by choice, not by default.

Our local independent Federal Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, has been championing the telecommunications cause. I am fortunate to have been included in an advisory group on telecommunications to discuss these exact issues being faced all across the North East. We have a tremendous ally on these matters and a great source of advocacy on this cause. Visit the Facebook site – “Coverage for the Country” to see these initiatives in action.

To this effect, FCRM is gathering signatures for a petition, for tabling to the Honourable Speaker and Members of the Federal House of Representatives. It is available to be signed at the FCRM offices and we welcome your signature to support the cause.

The crux of the petition is:

“The ongoing and continued failure of telecommunications infrastructure at the Falls Creek Alpine Resort to adequately facilitate or enable this vibrant Alpine tourism destination, with the services and connectivity to enable its business community, residents and resort users, a reliable wireless, broadband and fixed line service.

Furthermore, as a remote isolated community, operating in a high risk environment, such infrastructure is crucial for the communication of emergency response information. It is not unreasonable to request and expect resiliency and robustness in this infrastructure to ensure users and the community are able to respond in a timely manner to any emergency situation. Presently, there are heightened concerns around this capacity and the village welfare.

In addition, as a unique Alpine environment, servicing in excess of 500,000 visitor stays per annum, the resort caters to a diverse range of outdoor enthusiasts and nature based tourists. Unreliable telecommunications infrastructure subsequently multiplies the inherent risks involved in these activities and works to the detriment of the extensive efforts of the resort and its business community in attracting greater local and international visitation and the associated economic benefits generated for the region.”

We look forward to your support with this initiative.

Now, Carry On and Hit the Slopes…

Stuart Smythe - CEO, Falls Crek Resort Management

Pic: Chris Hocking