Telecommunications survey

Submissions closed on 31 October 2020, 11:55 PM

person using a mobile phone and laptop

Most people in the community rely on the internet to stay in contact with friends, family, workplaces and education. This has been particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic and has highlighted the fact that, for many areas in Yarra Ranges, internet services just aren’t good enough.

We want to help change that.

We’re putting together a map of internet and mobile coverage and want more detail about the quality of your internet. We’ll be investigating access to and quality of internet services for residents and businesses alike. You can help by testing your internet speeds at home and sharing the results with us. Our final report will be used to advocate to the State and Federal Government for better internet and telecommunications infrastructure (such as phone towers) and to assist Council in reducing isolation to communities in the threat of a natural disaster.

Testing your broadband services and 4G mobile speeds at home or work (if you're currently able to attend*) is simple and helps us get accurate information about where blackspots are for internet services.

How to participate

Submissions for the telecommunications survey have now closed. Thank you to everyone who has participated.


How will these speed tests and survey help the community?

  • The Yarra Ranges doesn’t have any formally recognised ‘blackspots’ in its internet coverage - the quality and accessibility across the region is generally considered reasonable, which rules us out of funding opportunities and drops us down priority upgrade lists for Telecommunications companies. However, we know anecdotally that there are still areas of the community with poor access to high-speed internet and mobile coverage. This survey will help us to get an accurate picture of what service speeds are like across different parts of Yarra Ranges.
  • Our experience, particularly during the COVID-19 restrictions, has shown us the significant variety of service levels across the municipality. By getting data from at least 1000 tests in the region, we can gather evidence to show other levels of Government and telecommunications companies the true state of the internet in Yarra Ranges and the problems community members experience.
  • The information gathered will also help us to plan for natural disasters – in particular how internet and mobile coverage can be temporarily boosted in communities under threat. This may include using portable mobile phone towers, such as those used in East Warburton in the period before a tower was built in the region.

Are telecommunications towers the only way to improve access?

No. However they are one of main the options to improve the service across a broad area. Once we have the results from community tests, we will consider what options will create the greatest benefit to services, while also being easily achievable.

Are there things I can do to improve my service ahead of this work?

Things that could affect your Wi-Fi speed include:

  • How far your device is from your Wi-Fi router or point(s). Often, moving your device closer to your router or point will result in improved speeds.
  • Building materials (walls) and other objects located between your router and Wi-Fi points or between your Wi-Fi points and mobile devices may slow your connection. If possible, try to use your device within a clear line of sight to your router or point.
  • Some devices do not support faster Wi-Fi standards, due to outdated technology. Speed is dependent on both the router or point and the device that is connected to it. If you have an older device, it is likely it will not support the latest standards for the fastest speeds.
  • There could be signal interference due to traffic on your Wi-Fi network, on your neighbours’ Wi-Fi networks, or from other sources like microwaves or baby monitors.
  • The number of applications and programs working in the background will also be drawing capacity – for example automatically installing upgrades or having many applications or browsing windows open.

    Things that could affect your mobile telephone and broadband internet coverage.

  • Building materials (walls) and other objects located between your device and closest mobile phone tower. If possible, try to use your device within a clear line of sight to the mobile phone tower.
  • Devices connected on older 3G services may not achieve speeds as fast as the 4G or 5G services.
  • The amount of other users in the immediate area of the mobile phone tower that you are using.

The quality and speed of the service you have purchased will also have a significant impact on speeds, especially when connected to NBN services.

Small businesses running on domestic packages should investigate the commercial equivalent – often the way these packages work are better suited for business purposes.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority – National Regulator has a guide that may help if you are interested in further advice:

Does having a 5G service have health impacts?

No. We are aware of speculation that 5G networks cause health issues, but  there is currently no evidence to support that theory. 5G services and telecommunications services, such as Wi-Fi routers and 4G services from mobile phone towers are safe and strictly monitored. The Australian Communications and Media Authority – National Regulator has plenty of information that may help clarify those concerns based on the latest research, which can be found here:

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency has also clarified that there are no effects to your immune system that can be connected to 5G or other telecommunications services, as explained here:


Your privacy is extremely important to us.

Please note that all your responses are confidential and that at no stage will your personal details or individual comments be used for any purpose other than reporting on this research.

The internet speed testing tool we are asking you to use is the publicly available Ookla® Speed test website. You will not be required to enter any personal details into the Ookla® Speed test website. The Ookla® Speed test website does capture IP address information. However, this is undertaken in accordance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) (PDP Act) and other applicable legislation.

The quality of the answers (data) that you enter into survey is extremely important. The more accurate this data is, the more reliable analysis the Council can undertake, resulting in better long-term outcomes for the community.