The Coffs Coast Advocate

Telstra service bagged

EVERY time it rains, Michael Brown says he loses his telephone and broadband services, leaving him reliant on his pre-paid Optus mobile phone.

The Nana Glen resident, who is the full time carer for his seriously ill wife, often has to call the ambulance and never knows when he may need to make an urgent call.

He said the copper wires to his home were joined in mid-air, protected only by plastic bags and frequently went under water.

The telephone line to Mr Brown and his two Nana Glen neighbours also goes through the bed of Nana Creek, where he says it is permanently under water.

Mr Brown said he had complained to Telstra on five different occasions during the past 12 months and Telstra had spent more money sending out technicians to carry out temporary repairs than it would have cost to construct a proper waterproof junction box.

“Being housebound this year, and living with a serious illness, our phone service and its reliability, became more important to us, than it had previously been,” he said.

To make matters worse, he said one of his neighbours was an ambulance emergency first responder who also desperately needed a reliable phone service and the other had started a small business.

“Some of the engineering solutions provided by Telstra Corporation to rectify the ongoing problem include an inverted blue plastic bucket placed on top of the junction bundle; Glad and home brand plastic bags of varying sizes, from small no frills lunch bags to 'top-end' Glad bags, press seal variety.

“I would be surprised if these items, are approved by Telstra Corporation for such purposes.”

Telstra area general manager for the North Coast, Sue Passmore, agreed that Mr Brown and his neighbours needed a new junction point and new cables and said they were on the list to receive them as a matter of urgency, but she could not give a time frame.

She said Telstra's first priority was getting a service.

She defended the plastic bags, saying it was normal practice to use them to keep water out.

Ms Passmore said many telephone cables ran under creek beds and roads, although it was not ideal.

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