By Derek Schlennstedt
How long could you cope without an internet or phone service? A day, perhaps a week, at most!
In today’s digital age, people rely more and more on these technological services for a multitude of things.
But, for several residents on Gibson’s Parade in Warburton, a world without either has become their reality, and since Easter they have been stuck with no phone or internet connection.
Wendy White, a resident on Gibson’s Parade spent the last four months stressed and worried, after her husband suffered a stroke and the need for phone services became vital – a fact she reiterated to her telco provider, Commander.
Despite getting a mobile phone to help with appointments, regular phone calls to the William Angliss Hospital where her husband Peter was being treated resulted in phone credit building up.
“Every day I had to go to the hospital because I couldn’t ring my husband … it’s just been a joke,” Wendy said.
“His physio, occupational therapy doctors were all trying to make appointments, so it’s almost cost me $50 a day to buy credit.”
After endless hours on the phone, Wendy said she was given the run-around with a lack of information and no-one claiming responsibility, with NBN and Telstra constantly deflecting the blame on the other.
“We were constantly told all different stories, NBN blamed Telstra, Telstra blamed NBN,” she said.
Many other residents on the parade share similar stories, and Ivan Rosengreen, who lives a few doors down from Wendy, also commented on the lack of transparency and information from both NBN and Telstra.
He said that over the duration of the problem, they constantly received various dates when services would be fixed, which, he noted, never came to fruition.
“Endless amount of calls … been on the phone every night sometimes, we just want to get a result, we don’t care who’s fault it is, we just want to get our landline and internet back,” he said.
“It’s just very frustrating when they are not telling us the truth.”
A mass NBN rollout across Warburton took place late last year, and it is believed that during the works a contractor damaged the copper services to the street.
Both NBN and Telstra have apologised for the inconvenience but neither confirmed or released any information regarding the problem and why it took so long to fix.
“Nbn would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to the resident,” said Kasey Ellison, Corporate Affairs Advisor.
“Unfortunately an extended cable fault has affected the service… due to issues relating to the repair and local infrastructure it has taken longer than usual to have this fixed … We are sorry for the extended disruption,” said Telstra Area general manager Loretta Willaton in a statement.
Despite not having any phone services, both Ivan and Wendy have still received phone bills, which they said they will not be paying.
The internet service and phone connection has since been fixed.