Technology – internet, mobile phones – is great when it does what it’s supposed to do. In 2017, when that technology is suddenly taken away from us, we realise how dependent we are on it. We realise how dangerous it is that we can be left floundering and wondering how we are to cope without that technology. Oh dear, did somebody not dial before they dug? Early last Friday morning Telstra internet and mobile phone services in Harden-Murrumburrah were subject to an outage.
In plain language, this meant that these services just didn’t work, including if you weren’t a Telstra customer but your phone service provider used Telstra lines. Upon the Times contacting a service provider, their response was that services should resume at about 11:00am on last Saturday. That didn’t happen.
The effect of the outage on individuals was one thing. It was even worse on businesses. Bank services were disrupted and checkout registers were inoperable. Harden customers unable to use their cards or access cash in town, took their shopping to nearby towns unaffected by the outage. The Times again contacted their service provider source early on Monday morning and was told that the outage for internet services was scheduled to end at 7:00pm on Monday, 26 September; there was no date for the resumption of mobile phone services. But, then a minor miracle occurred and both internet and mobile services resumed on the morning of Monday, 18 September. Let’s hope it hangs in there.
Apart from the inconvenience of no internet or mobile service, the biggest disappointment was the apparent indifference of Telstra in not bothering to advise its customers (say, by way of radio advertisements) of the problems with their provision of services. No doubt if customers were tardy in paying their bills, they’d hear about it quick smart. A local man has discussed a class action suit for locals to band together and recover losses incurred by the outage. HRDC said, “HRDC has received complaints regarding the impact of the Telstra mobile & ADSL outage last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Our own business was interrupted, limiting our capacity to work on a range of community projects. Remote worker residents were unable to connect to their offices. Personal obligations to families and friends could not be fulfilled.
Many businesses in our towns are dependent on an ability to service customers via Telstra eftpos facilities and due to the outage their turnover was negatively impacted. Of concern to HRDC was the fact that Telstra gave no warning to customers of the outage and no explanation or apology has been received by customers since. The attitude of Telstra to residents in regional NSW in not persisting with repairs in the fastest possible way, is inexcusable. Leaving the repair work to Monday morning showed lack of respect and disregard for our community needs at all levels, including business, community endeavours and social/family networks. If our businesses and community members were to compare their average normal operations over a similar period with their activity over the period of the outage, how