Tel­stra to call on Dain­tree

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - RICHARD KOSER

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.

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