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Switch from CDMA poses problems for irrigators and flood monitors.

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The Hon Bruce Billson MP Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

Australian farmers and natural systems managers have raised concerns about making the switch from CDMA to Next G™ when it comes to using CDMA-based remote management and monitoring systems for purposes including activating irrigation pumps and monitoring flood levels.

The same technology is also used for a variety of other purposes, including retrieving data from weather stations, opening and shutting gates as well as operating and monitoring alarm systems. In flood warning systems CDMA is used to transmit crucial data collected about river, stormwater and stream levels.

In relation to pumps, farmers are able to activate them using an SMS sent from their mobile phone. In order to make systems compatible with Next G™ phones I am advised data control units at the pump must be replaced at a cost of about $1250. Telstra offers a Next G™ migration rebate of just $100 which ends on January 28.

Irrigators have also advised that the Next G control units are also difficult to obtain at a time that is during the peak of the irrigation season.

I am pleased that Telstra has 57 advocates working across the country to assist customers in making the switch to Next G™. I would encourage them to work with irrigators, vendors of telemetry systems and others across the country who rely on CDMA to remotely operate equipment and monitor natural systems, to ensure they are not adversely effected by switching to Next G™.

Telstra has set up a hotline to assist customers with their switch to Next G™ : 1800 88 888.