On June 17, when it announced Opel as the winner of almost $1 billion of Broadband Connect funding, select coverage maps were circulated in soft copy. According to Conroy, "electorate-by-electorate maps [were released] with the minister for communications, Helen Coonan declaring in Parliament that they were publicly available. While a hard copy map of their electorate was provided to each sitting MP, the maps were never put up on the DCITA website nor were they made available to people who requested them."
Conroy claimed this week that: "The Federal Government system does not take into account topographic features like hills." Certainly the coverage maps did not: coverage of each base station was shown as a neat circle, a fact that attracted considerable criticism at the time.
One industry insider told iTWire: "We just did a line of site study using the 25 metre height of the GSM towers [known sites for many of the proposed base stations]. We were generous and assumed a five metre height for [the customer's antenna] and the coverage was appalling. There is no way we could see that you would get that 99 percent coverage claimed...And we ignored trees which are a major issue. We question the whole premise of the thing."