Telstra to call on Daintree
ASK anyone north of the Daintree River and they’ll tell you communications can be pretty tough.
The hard part is getting them on the phone.
Some subscribers north of the river say they have only had two weeks’ service since Christmas.
Telstra, however, has heard the complaints and is sending Amanda Albom, one of their top regional executives up to Cow Bay Hotel to meet the locals next Monday, 14 March.
Warren Entsch, federal member Leichhardt, will attend.
“The main issue is the quality of the infrastructure,” said Darren O’Doherty, whose phone call to a Cairns radio show prompted Telstra to get in touch.
“It’s sub-standard and antiquated.
“We’ve had so many lightning strikes, the technicians tell us there aren’t many wires left in the cables, but then the for also there’s no proper lightning protection.
“Our mobile services are almost non-existent.
“There’s no back-up generator at the exchange, so if the batteries go flat the whole system shuts down. But because we don’t have grid power, Telstra can’t do a proper upgrade.”
Hugh Spencer, who has been in the Daintree for 23 years, said Telstra made a habit of not ’bundling’ service calls for technicians.
“We had a situation recently where a technician came to the Daintree to do one job, then went to Mt Molloy and Julatten, then back to Cairns,” he said. “The next day, he was back in the Daintree to do another job. It hadn’t occurred to anyone to get him to spend a few days up here, sorting out all our problems.”
Mr Spencer said the practice of “tromboning” phone calls meant one weak link could knock out the entire system.
“If I call my neighbour, the call goes from here to the exchange in Port Douglas via the microwave link at the Alexandra Range,” he said.
“If someone goes wrong with the tower at Alexandra Range, like it did in cyclone Rona, noone can contact anyone.”
Mr O’Doherty said he hoped Telstra would outline a plan to upgrade the communications system.
“I just hope they’ll outline what they will do to solve the problem once and for all,” he said.
The meeting will be held at the Cow Bay Hotel at 6pm on Monday.