Telstra apologises to Newport for disconnected Christmas

Telstra has apologised to Newport residents and businesses who have had a disconnected Christmas, after customers have been left without fixed line phone and internet services for three weeks.

The apology follows the telco’s recent Christmas campaign, to enable Hobsons Bay residents to get in touch with their loved ones by offering free local, national and mobile calls from Telstra payphones, which backfired due to the elongated outage.

“There have been some delays to repairs in the area as a result of the large number of faults across Victoria caused by the storms and extreme weather earlier in the month,” a Telstra spokesperson said.

“We’ve been working hard and added additional resources to restore services, but unfortunately there has been longer wait times than usual for some customers. In Newport, the affected cable runs near a gas main.”

“We needed to gain some additional approvals to complete the repairs. We are working to restore services as soon as possible and we expect all services in the area to be back up and running in the next few days. We apologise for this delay.”

An apology might be the least of concern to local traders, who were left without working merchant facilities in the weeks leading up to Christmas, telling Willy and Hobby they were relying on busy sales throughout December to see them through a quieter January.

Gill Gannon, Owner at Wilde Interiors, was one of the traders most affected by Telstra’s outage and told Willy and Hobby the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) is aware of the situation.

“Our busiest period of the year and none of us have working merchant facilities. We have had to use mobile phone hotspots or purchase dongles. It doesn’t matter which provider you are with, as all use Telstra’s fixed line,” said Ms Gannon.

“I was told yesterday that the ombudsman’s office have given Telstra til January 11 to have it fixed. It is absolutely appalling and surely would not have been allowed to continue at any higher profile shopping precincts.”

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