Phone delay puts girl's life at risk

MOUNT Morgan's Dave Smith has waited seven months for a Telstra connection.

His constant calls for action have fallen on deaf ears. It has taken so long the telco gave Mr Smith, ironically a former Testra employee, a satellite telephone, then a CDMA mobile, at no cost until his service is connected.

But they continue to charge him a rental fee for a landline phone he cannot use.

Mr Smith said satellite and mobile receptions were, at best, patchy.

"My mother-in-law tried 14 times one day before she could get through.

"Telstra can't even get (in touch with) me on a phone they provided.'' ? Mr Smith highlighted his plight with an incident a couple of months ago.

His then three-year-old daughter Katie was knocked unconscious by a pony at their 16-hectare property, 20km west of Mount Morgan.

"I went to call Triple 0 and, no service.''

Mr Smith said he got in the car and rushed Katie to Mount Morgan Hospital, breaking the law in the process.

"I was doing 130-140kmh to get there. I was that scared ? she wasn't moving.''

Also residing at Mr Smith's property is wife Julie (she has lost part-time work due to not being contactable), daughter Brittany, 11, and son Nicholas, 10.

Mr Smith dreads the day there is another emergency.

When contacted yesterday, Telstra Country Wide manager for Central Queensland Malcolm Broad was familiar with Mr Smith's case.

Mr Broad said he had personally visited the property and there was "marginal'' CDMA coverage.

He said the matter had been on his desk for only two weeks and should be resolved "at the very latest by the end of next week''.

"That is a three-week turn around,'' he said.

Mr Broad said he could not be held accountable for delays before the matter reached his desk.

"If anyone has a problem with a service I'd urge them to call my number direct which is a freecall number (1800 687 829).'' Mr Broad was available promptly yesterday, within minutes of being contacted by The Morning Bulletin.

But don't tell Mr Smith Telstra should be sold, or that services were up to scratch in the bush (his place is just 45 minutes drive from Rockhampton).

"I rang a 1800 (Telstra) number the other day and got the 'Welcome to the Telstra experience' message.

"They should change that to 'Welcome to the Telstra nightmare' ? because that's what it's been for us.

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