4G to boost Karijini mobile coverage
After achieving 3G mobile coverage just last year, Karijini National Park is set to be upgraded to 4G, giving tour operators hope the severe bottlenecking of the current system will be fixed.
The 4G coverage will be isolated to three hotspots about 6km wide over the Karijini Eco Retreat, the Visitor Centre and Dales Campground.
The upgrade is welcome news for Geoff and Hwee Carter, who run their tour business, West Oz Active Adventure Tours, out of the Karijini Eco Retreat.
Mr Carter said he hoped the new system put in place would be up to the task of supporting hundreds of tourists at a time, something the 3G network failed to do.
“Some days, you can make a call and some you can’t,” he said, flagging 5pm as a particularly busy time when coverage would drop out entirely.
Pilbara Development Commission chief executive Terry Hill said upgrading the 3G towers would significantly improve the running of the park by reducing internet congestion and improving speeds.
“Extending its coverage will mean visitors who would otherwise leave the national park to phone home or get online may extend their stay,” he said.
“It will also make it easier for people staying within the park to use the new online booking system for the Dales Campground to make or modify a booking.”
Karijini is WA’s second-largest park by area and is visited by more than 350,000 travellers a year.
Starting this month workable and reliable internet access has become more crucial than ever as all bookings for the Dales Campgrounds move online.
Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions project officer Andy Kemp said the department had been looking into making bookings online for some time but were held back by the lack of internet.
“We would have liked to do it earlier but its only recently the communications have improved enough to allow us,” he said.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the booking system - which allows campers to book as far as six months in advance - will put an end to the “first in best dressed” policy the park has had until now.
“The online booking system will be beneficial to visitors who can now avoid the disappointment of travelling to the Dales Campground only to be turned away if it is fully booked.
(Article printed June 12, 2019)
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails