Weather plays havoc with Telstra services
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.”