By UTE SCHULENBERG
WHEN Stephanie Zickgraf arrived to house-sit near Dorrigo in December, the owner alerted her that the phone was not working because of a lightning strike the previous month but said repairs would be happening soon.
It is now February and Ms Zickgraf is still waiting.
In fact during her last conversation with Telstra, and she has had several, she was told her job was not scheduled until March 14.
"I nearly cried," she said.
"I knew it would be isolated here but I would never have agreed to the job if I knew I was going to be without a phone for so long," she said.
Even the interim satellite phone Telstra had connected was unreliable.
"I normally do everything on the internet ? all my banking and other business. I can't use my computer!" Ms Zickgraf said.
"There is no branch of my bank in Dorrigo . . . I have had to go back to writing letters and driving to town to post them or taking my laptop into the computer shop to download my emails.
"It is very kind of the shop owner but very inconvenient. I can't sit in his shop all the time."
On Wednesday Ms Zickgraf had had enough and drove to Coffs Harbour to speak to the media.
"What really cheesed me off was when the woman from Telstra asked me to let her know if the technicians arrived any earlier to fix it! What sort of an organisation is this?"
Yesterday Telstra Country Wide Mid North Coast general manager Michael Sharpe was at a loss to explain the delays.
"It looks as if this one has slipped through the cracks," Mr Sharpe said.
"I have looked into the matter and it appears there is 330 metres of cable that was damaged by lightning. We will have it fixed by next Wednesday, March 1, and I will be contacting her to apologise for the inconvenience."
Mr Sharpe said it appeared at each step employees had thought the job had been registered, when in fact it had not.
"This is a process issue and I will be looking into it.
"Such cases are rare."
He said customers with any extended faults or problems that are not fully explained to them are welcome to contact the Telstra Country Wide office on 1800 882 000.