Telstra's response to Awaba phone fault is unacceptable
9th May 2018
I'm finding it really hard to believe that Telstra could leave an entire suburb without landlines and home internet services for the best part of two months.
That's exactly what's happening at Awaba where no one, not even the school, has had a landline since April 5.
Telstra says the problem is asbestos found in a pit during a repair job, but surely it doesn't take more than a month to get qualified people in to remove it.
Some residents were told that the lines would be back on last Friday, but Friday came and went, and then it was Monday, but that came and went too, and now Telstra's saying May 25.
It's totally unacceptable.
Here's how ABC Radio reporter Ben Millington has reported on the issue:
By Ben Millington, 1233 ABC Newcastle
Would you cope without your home landline for weeks? What about not having the internet?
Residents in the Lake Macquarie suburb of Awaba say they've been without landline phone services for almost two months, and they're fed up with waiting for Telstra.
Judith McDonald says her landline went down in mid-March and she lost internet at the beginning of May.
She says Telstra originally told her it would be fixed by the end of April, and now it's saying the end of May.
"I think it's disgraceful that Telstra seem to be paying absolutely no attention to this whole incident," she said.
"I mean 70 to 300 people without a telephone in the Awaba area is just disgusting, and they're doing nothing."
Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper says it's unacceptable.
He says Telstra is blaming asbestos in the phone pits, but says that's not a good enough excuse.
"Certainly that they would have qualified people ready, and certainly in the sort of time frame we're talking about - I mean we're talking now about the better part of two months," he said.
"I don't think anyone could sell that as being a reasonable argument."
A Telstra spokeswoman has apologised for the delay.
"We understand the frustration this can cause," she said in a statement.
"There are strict guidelines we have to follow in the event that any asbestos containing material is found at the site to ensure there is no risk to the safety of our staff and the general public."
"We are working to complete the project as quickly as possible.
"There are options available for customers whose landline service has been affected including call diversion, which can be arranged by calling 132 200.