Phone booth, phone box, payphone, generic
Phone booth, phone box, payphone, generic Pixabay

CQ residents fuming over Christmas phone outage

ABOUT 100 people in Yaamba and surrounding towns had a quiet Christmas, for all the wrong reasons.

They were left fuming after an unexplained phone outage cut them off over the festive season.

Livingstone Shire councillor Glenda Mather said she spent numerous hours on the phone to Telstra over the weekend trying to find the cause of the issue and resolve it for those affected.

Cr Mather said the phones went down around midday Friday and she believed about 100 people in Yaamba and surrounds were suddenly without their landlines.

She said residents were angered to initially be told the problem could not be fixed until tomorrow.

However, today Cr Mather told The Morning Bulletin some landlines had been reconnected mid-morning.

But she was still frustrated by the situation and lack of response.

"I spent numerous hours on the phone both Friday and Saturday, trying to contact someone in authority who could address the problem,” Cr Mather said.

"Like power, water and sewerage, telecommunication is an essential service, and needs to be treated urgently - holiday or no holiday.”

Cr Mather said the response from Telstra to these concerns was "dismal”, with an indication that technicians wouldn't be available over the holidays.

Under the Telecommunicaions Act, penalties apply to providers which do not honour their Customer Service Agreement.

"I will also be lodging a separate complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, for the lack of response, especially during this critical time of year when so many families are on the road.

"Businesses at Yaamba have suffered disadvantage with customers when bookings can't be made, and Eftpos machines are inoperable.

"At a time when businesses should be at peak trade, this little community has been the victim of a tardy, and inconsiderate service provider.

"It has been a very distressing time for all affected families.

"Loyal Telstra customers deserve an apology for its poor performance, and a guaranteed assurance that systems are in place to ensure that a similar situation will happen again.”

This afternoon, a Telstra spokesperson said they were still investigating the issue.

"We are investigating a disruption to services that some customers are experiencing in the Yaamba area,” they said.

"We are working to restore services in the area as a priority and we apologise to customers for any inconvenience.”