Crean?s Bowraville claim ?a little hard to fathom


AS far as Bernie Lawler is aware, there are no major problems with the Bowraville telephone exchange.

The chamber of commerce president was responding to a press release from the Federal Opposition's spokesman for regional development, Simon Crean, saying the town's exchange was among the worst in the country.

"Personally I've never had any problems," Mr Lawler said.

"Perhaps some people have delays having their faults repaired or new numbers connected but I haven't actually heard anything."

In the latest telecommunications bulletin issued by the Australian Communications and Media Authority Bulletin (ACMA), Bowraville was singled out for breaching performance tests laid down under the Government's 'network reliability framework'.

"According to the regulator, this exchange is responsible for a high percenmtage of service faults between April and July 2005," Mr Crean said. "This poor performance was not revealed to the people of Cowper before their local member, Luke Hartsukyer, voted for the sale of Telstra.

"This is the price being paid for the Howard government's un- der-investment in infrastructure.

"By supporting the sale of Telstra, Mr Hartsukyer and the National Party have hung up on the people of Cowper."

ACMA industry monitoring manager, Soheil Derakhshan, said under the current matrix, exchanges were highlighted when there were possible problems without actually identifying those problems.

"In the last 12 months, 2200 exchanges were breached for having systemic reliability problems," he said.

"On investigation, 96 were referred to Telstra and of them, 30 required remediation.

"We are aware that the current matrix is ineffective and a new matrix is currently under development for introduction next year."

Mr Hartsukyer said the results actually show a fault report procedure that is working.

"While there might be some problems with the current system, the reality is that attempts are being made to provide a better service," Mr Hartsukyer said.

"Without this service there would be no way to highlight the deficiencies. This way the need for remedial action is triggered and forms the basis for anything from minor repairs to major exchange upgrades."

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