Shellharbour internet outage brews outrage

Richard and Meredith Bryce at home in Shellharbour. They say they are frustrated at Telstra’s internet service melting down every summer. Picture: Sylvia LiberA group of Shellharbour residents’ frustration at Telstra’s internet service reached the point of sheer absurdity this week.

After what some described as almost a month of failing internet connections, countless phone calls to Telstra, snail’s pace data speed and no action, John McKenna was again on the phone to a Telstra representative.

He had been told it would be fixed last Saturday. Then it became Wednesday. Then Thursday, then Friday. When would it be fixed, Mr McKenna wanted to know.

The operator said he would have to check with the WFC Department.

“When I asked what that was, he said he was not trained to know what WFC stood for,” Mr McKenna told the Mercury.

“He said they have no idea when it will be fixed.”

The mysterious WFC Department was one of the answers residents were given. The unfamiliar acronym has led to some onlookers suggesting what WFCmight actually stand for.

Another resident, Richard Bryce, has been unable to complete work as a teacher without the connection.

Hesaid he was told the problem could not be fixed until the “Fibre Optic Team” was flown in from Melbourne. He wondered if there was a solitary fibre optic repair team to cover the entire nation.

But he would not be compensated for the lost access –Telstra’s customer service guarantee covered fixed lines only and not internet.

Resident Scott Gibbs said the problem recurred every summer.“Every holiday time the internet either has a meltdown or you get no service at all,” he said.A Telstra spokesman said there had been “a series of faults” to blame.

“We apologise for the impact to some internet services in Shellharbour, which has been caused by a series of hardware faults within the roadside cabinet,” he said.

“We understand the impact these faults can have on local businesses and families and we regret that it has taken this amount of time to resolve.”

By lateon Friday, afterthe Mercury’s questions, some residents found that Telstra had pulled out the stops and repaired the fault.But their joy was short-lived, By 5pm the internet access was down again, Mr Bryce said.

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