Weather plays havoc with Tel­stra ser­vices

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

THE main­te­nance back­log across Tel­stra’s 100-year-old cop­per net­work reached cri­sis point over Christ­mas and Jan­uary with no end in sight, ac­cord­ing to the Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Elec­tri­cal Plumb­ing Union (CEPU).

CEPU as­sis­tant sec­re­tary Shane Mur­phy said over the past eight weeks “we have seen faults and wait­ing times blow out [and] in the Whit­sun­days alone, 42 house­holds and busi­nesses have been wait­ing a month for in­ter­net and phone ser­vices”.

Mr Mur­phy said main­te­nance and wait­ing time fig­ures ob­tained by the CEPU showed Tel­stra’s “chronic un­der­in­vest­ment in main­te­nance and re­pairs is catch­ing up with them”.

“There are thou­sands of plas­tic bags hold­ing ca­ble joints to­gether and thou­sands of ca­bles lay­ing bare with wires ex­posed in pits and man­holes across the coun­try,” he said.

Mr Mur­phy said re­li­able com­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vices were par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant in re­gional ar­eas, with the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion “bad for fam­i­lies, bad for busi­nesses and bad for our hard­work­ing mem­bers who’d rather do the job right once”.

He said the CEPU would soon begin a road­show of re­gional ar­eas to dis­cuss the state of the net­work.

Tel­stra mean­while has blamed sea­sonal weather events for its most re­cent ser­vice faults.

A Tel­stra spokesper­son said due to the im­pacts of Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Mar­cia, there was a fur­ther in­crease in the num­ber of ser­vice faults re­ported.

Con­se­quently a ser­vice dis­rup­tion no­tice was posted on Tel­stra’s web­site for parts the Cen­tral Coast, Whit­sun­days, Wide Bay and Bur­nett and southeast coast dis­tricts of Queens­land, on Fe­bru­ary 23.

The spokesper­son said un­for­tu­nately this year ex­treme weather events hit ear­lier than usual and were more ge­o­graph­i­cally dis­persed, “leav­ing us less flex­i­bil­ity to move re­sources around the coun­try”.

“No amount of in­vest­ment will pro­tect us against nat­u­ral dis­as­ters,” the spokesper­son said.

“Our fo­cus is on re­turn­ing fault num­bers to nor­mal lev­els as quickly as pos­si­ble, by en­sur­ing our tech­ni­cians are work­ing in the ar­eas they are needed most, by bring­ing ad­di­tional tech­ni­cians on board and bal­anc­ing our re­sources to pri­ori­tise fault restora­tions.”

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