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Dec 18

No phone zonePOLL

OPINION:Telstra has plenty to answer for at Tooraweenah
Nanjing Night Net

The town of Tooraweenah has effectively been operating on a credit system for the past week after losing access to phone lines and EFTPOS facilities.

Last Monday phone lines dropped and have intermittently worked since, with residents noticing they were more likely to return when the temperature cooled down.

The town, which is 100 kilometres north of Dubbo and has an approximate population of 100, has no bank and relies upon the EFTPOS facilities at the handful of businesses to access money.

Store owners were forced to operate using cash only after EFTPOS systems went offline and also had to make do without phones or internet.

Mobile phone coverage is extremely limited in the area, especially with Telstra.

“Nobody is happy. This is the talk of the town at the moment. There is only about 100 residents in the town but then you have all the farmers across the district and contractors who are harvesting,” Tooraweenah resident Ross Pollock said.

“Mobile reception around the town is patchy.

“If you stand in some places you will get some service but move away and you lose it.

“Everyone in town is running tabs. The service station and the pub are without EFTPOS and now most people have used up their cash.

“The businesses in town are now showing goodwill and now have to hope that everyone settles up.”

Proprietor of Tooraweenah Trading Co Lester Thurston said the worst part of no phones had been the uncertainty about whether or not they had been working.

“There’s a loss of trade for businesses. I had people who were trying to call me and all they were getting was a busy signal.

“Telstra say they can divert calls but we don’t get mobile reception here. I went away for the weekend and there is a viewing platform on the side of the road as you leave town, I had one bar of service on Friday when I left, and I had four bars when I came back. It varies that much.

“I am concerned that if there is a medical emergency in town, it could be a serious problem.”

Tooraweenah Caravan Park owner Sarah Hill said she had begun reporting the issue to Telstra last Monday and received a number of conflicting responses from Telstra representatives.

“We had a storm here on Friday night and it brought a power line down in the caravan park. The power was out so the mobile phone antenna wasn’t working and we had no landline, so I had to drive around town until I found someone with an Optus phone to report the issue,” Ms Hill said.

“That’s a pretty serious issue.”

A spokesperson for Telstra said they were aware of an issue between 2.30pm on Friday and 7pm on Saturday and the problem had been rectified now.

“A hardware issue caused a loss of fixed line services for our customers in and around Tooraweenah,” the spokesperson said.

“Our technicians replaced the faulty hardware and services are now restored.

“Telstra apologises for any inconvenience to its customers.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.