CAPE Paterson residents are extremely frustrated by Telstra’s response to a network issue that saw many residents without mobile phone coverage for more than a week.
The outage affected an estimated half of the town and impacted phone users had no coverage or intermittent coverage.
As of Sunday, residents were still experiencing issues with their network connection.
Resident Nancy Vaughan led the chorus of frustration towards Telstra.
“We’re being fobbed off because were a small community. Imagine if we were in Camberwell and had no phone reception for a week – it wouldn’t happen,” she said.
“You could put up with it if there was bit more respect. They say they know about the issues and they’re going to fix it but they can’t tell you when it will be fixed and they just say they’re in the process of fixing the problem.”
Nancy works from home and her work involves demographic research and writing funding applications.
She has clients across Victoria and relies on a working mobile phone to liaise with clients and has been cut off in the middle of important conversations throughout last week.
But that’s only the start of the impact the network issues have caused.
“A woman Sue told me how she’d been affected. She has no landline and her internet is her mobile phone tethered to her laptop,” Nancy said.
“Telstra encourages you to do these things but when things go wrong you’re in strife.
“Her brother-in-law died in the last seven days. She hasn’t been able to book flights to Darwin, hasn’t been able to email her family, she’s been going next door to borrow their landline to make a phone call and she can’t do banking. It’s had a really big impact on people like that.”
Pip Carman was another resident impacted by the outages.
She explained how Telstra has a stranglehold on the market in Cape Paterson.
“If you’re on Optus or any other providers you don’t usually get reception. Everyone’s stuck with Telstra because the tower’s there,” she said.
“The worst thing is this is an older community, so there are a lot of people that aren’t technically savvy.
“One of our friends didn’t know there was a problem. She thought it was her phone and was going to buy a new phone and there are other people who won’t put two and two together.”
On Friday, Telstra Area General Manager Loretta Willaton said Telstra has been aware of an issue affecting the mobile network in Cape Paterson.
“We tried to restore the network remotely, however this did not work and we had to send a technician,” she said.
“The area where the mobile base station is, is not Telstra owned, and seeking permission to access the site delayed our efforts to properly investigate and then attempt to restore the service.
“Restoration of the 4G network was completed earlier today, however further hardware was required to restore the 3G (voice network).
“We have spent today sourcing the equipment to send a technician to the site to complete further work.
“We had a technician again on site from 4.30pm today and hope to have it completely fixed later this evening. We are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused.”