Motelier wants to know who to blame for NBN outage
CLARENCE Valley motelier Tony Stackhouse thought the implementation of the NBN was a bit of joke, but after a month of intermittent to no internet service, it's beginning to wear thin.
Mr Stackhouse and his wife Angie own and run Jacaranda Motor Lodge on the Pacific Highway just outside Grafton.
"We've been told we're never going to have a wired NBN service here, but we were sold on a wireless package that they said would do everything we needed," Mr Stackhouse said.
But in the middle of last month his NBN connection began to fail, which put a strain on his business.
"All our bookings, accounts, communications, just about everything is done online," he said.
"To suddenly have that switched off and have no idea when it might come back on was very worrying."
Mr Stackhouse said he was able to create a Wi-Fi hot spot with a mobile phone to access the internet, but this was unsuitable as a day-to-day solution.
"As an example, I can do accounts and bookings, but I can't provide the Wi-Fi for my guests, as I advertise," he said.
Mr Stackhouse said his main concern was not being able to get to the root of the problem.
"What worries me the most is you can't actually talk to the NBN about this," he said.
"Because you buy access - in my case through Telstra - you can't actually get to NBN and find out what's going on.
"They're shielded from customers' issues, which I don't think is fair to all concerned.
"They've created a closed shop. They've put NBN across Australia, but if anyone has a problem, they can't be reached."
Mr Stackhouse's issues with the NBN began in mid-March when his service stopped suddenly and became available. only intermittently.
"I contacted Telstra and they told me I wouldn't have service until March 23, which was nine days away at the time," he said.
"Imagine being told that something that important to your business was going to be unavailable for nine days."
Mr Stackhouse's woes continued when March 23 came and went without improvement to his service.
"I rang the helpline without much success, until a woman eventually told me she thought she could see the problem," he said.
"She said I had an old modem and she could send me a new modem that would fix the problem.
"But when it arrived and we hooked it up, apart from a few brief flashes of the lights, there was nothing.
"The only good thing about it is it has 4G backup, but when it's over-taxed, it slows to a crawl."
Since then Telstra has despatched one of its "platinum" technician to look at the problem.
"But when he got here, he saw I had no signal strength," Mr Stackhouse said.
"He wondered why he had been sent at all."
The technician was able to find out where the source of the problem was.
"Apparently they're having problems with an antenna and are going to replace," Mr Stackhouse said.
"But I don't understand why we have been kept in the dark.
"If it was an electricity company they would have had ads on the radio and sent out flyers to warn people there will be an outage and they plan around it.
"We lose our internet and phone access and what do we hear? Not a thing."
Telstra regional general manager Mike Marom said the company was working on the problem.
"We've been in contact with the customer and NBN Co to attempt to resolve the connection issue," Mr Marom said.
"Customer representatives have spoken to Mr Stackhouse twice today to discuss his issues."
Mr Stackhouse said he needed to thank The Daily Examiner for its intervention.
"It certainly stirred up a hornet's nest," he said
"The power of the press is amazing.
"I just wish there was more transparency when things like this happened, so we can get to the problem and fix it."