Unusual solution to fix St Maria Goretti’s mobile phone problem 

Perched in Redcliffe, St Maria Goretti’s Catholic School is just a stone’s throw from Perth city. It was surprising then, that mobile coverage was so unreliable within the school.   

“I’ve been at the school for four years, and we’ve never had mobile coverage. You have teachers and staff walking around in the parking lot whenever they need to get a call” said St Maria Goretti’s Principal, Martin Barrett.  

St Maria Goretti’s is currently in the process of expanding from a single-stream to a double-stream class structure, and having access to basic connectivity is essential for duty of care.  

Regular readers may remember back in June, when Christ the King School in Djarindjin Lombadina on the Dampier Peninsula worked with the LEADing Lights Team to install a 4G Smart Antennae.  This enabled a school 2,500 kilometres away to access reliable mobile network coverage.  

So when Martin read about Christ the King’s connectivity solution, he contacted the Digital Transformation team straight away. Chuck Van Oosbree, the LEADing Lights Project Manager, was only too happy to help. With a Telstra team behind him, Chuck surveyed the site and the team quickly made a diagnosis; St Maria Goretti’s metal frame had formed what’s known as a “Faraday Cage” – a space blocking electromagnetic fields – including mobile and wireless network access.  

The Telstra techies discovered the original booster needed to be relocated, which significantly increased the coverage available to the area. They were also able to enable voiceover Wi-Fi, or Wi-Fi calling, allowing staff at the school to use their local connection to make calls from inside the building.  

“The big thing here is that even though we’ve been working without mobiles for years, we’ve been able to just take a few simple steps and get us there” said Martin, “so it’s great to say the least.” 

“It’s great to know the LEADing Lights team is actively responding to the needs of schools.” 

If you are experiencing difficulties with your mobile coverage and would like guidance, please contact Chuck.VanOosbree@cewa.edu.au.