Cut off: Telstra workers repair cables damaged in a vandal attack at Grafton Bridge early on Saturday.
Cut off: Telstra workers repair cables damaged in a vandal attack at Grafton Bridge early on Saturday.

Vandal attack cuts phone service

IF you were without phone service at the weekend, you can thank senseless vandals who set fire to a telecommunications pit on the Grafton Bridge in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The incident, which occurred about 2am, left thousands of homes and businesses without mobile and landline phone and broadband access for the majority of the weekend.

Telstra CountryWide North Coast general manager Michael Sharpe said a significant amount of damage was caused after padlocks were “knocked” off by vandals at one of the pits, before tree branches were placed inside and set alight.

“It was really frustrating for Telstra,” Mr Sharpe said.

“I cannot imagine how the wider community felt after having their access to communication cut off by someone’s senseless act.”

As a result of the fire, more than 6000 line services were cut.

It also removed 18 mobile towers from service.

More than 2000 broadband connections were lost and one of the main cables that connects Sydney and Brisbane lost service.

Mr Sharpe said Telstra personnel had been working around the clock to return telecommunications services to normal.

“We have been getting equipment and infrastructure from across the state and our guys have been at the site since police allowed us,” Mr Sharpe said.

“We have been repairing optical fibres and copper wiring that is as thick as a strand of hair.

“It is intricate, frustrating and time-consuming work.”

By Sunday afternoon, the majority of services had been returned to normal, however, Mr Sharpe said some work might have to be carried over to the beginning of the week.



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