Telstra listens to Daintree phone nightmares
MORE than 100 Daintree locals turned out to hear Telstra Countrywide executive Amanda Albom promise to do all she could to fix their telecommunication nightmares.
But for the moment it will be business - or a lack of it due to poor telecommunications - as usual until a solution is found.
“It was one of the biggest public meetings we’ve had in years,” organiser Russell O’Doherty said.
“That just shows how big this issue is,” he said.
“Everyone had a story to tell.
“One bloke said he had lost thousands of dollars of business just through EFTPOS services being unavailable.”
Many members of the community say they have suffered major disruptions to their phone services since the wet season began.
“It’s been a shocker of a year for lightning strikes,” Daintree Mountain View Holiday Retreat owner Russell O’Doherty said.
“We’ve probably had phone service for three weeks since Christmas, and there was one bloke who said he’d only been able to use his phones for 10 days in three months.”
While Ms Albom didn’t offer any immediate solution to the problems of intermittent service and slow repair times, she did offer to solve all outstanding issues as quickly as possible and to examine locations for mobile phone towers at both Cape Tribulation and Cow Bay.
“I got the feeling (Ms Albom) was serious,” Mr O’Doherty said.
“She acknowledged Telstra needed to put in an extra mobile tower, but that’s always difficult in a national park.
“Warren Entsch, who was also at the meeting, said he would lobby the Federal and State governments, as well as the Cairns Regional Council and the Wet Tropics Management Authority.”
Mr O’Doherty said Bailey’s Hill was an “obvious” location for a mobile phone tower.
“You’ve got direct line of sight from the Alexandra Range pretty much all the way to Cooktown,” he said.
Mr Entsch, the federal Member for Leichhardt, also promised to connect the local community to the rest of the country via a fibre-optic cable and underground grid power, if the Coalition is elected at the federal level.
“Well, that was the plan,” one witness said.
“Whether it’ll ever happen or not, that’s something else completely.”