TWICE in the past month Lynda Rowen has been unable to pay her staff because of a faltering internet service.
The manager of the Caltex service station at Bouldercombe said it was a "serious handicap" to doing business.
And the problem is not hers alone. It seems that a number of customers in Bouldercombe who are connected to Telstra's ADSL are affected.
Telstra's area general manager, Kris Carver, said no major fault had been found that would be causing dropouts at Bouldercombe, a rural township 21km west of Rockhampton.
"We've looked at the current service and we can't see any major fault," he said.
"At certain times of the day, some customers may experience some slow-up of service, but there is no fault that would cause dropouts or downtime."
But Mrs Rowen said the service was unusable for days at a time.
"In the last couple of weeks, it has been really bad," she said.
"I rely on the internet. When it is not working, it seriously interferes with the running of the business."
Mrs Rowen said she used the internet for all aspects of business, including transferring pays to the 10 staff members who work the servo's seven-day roster.
"It's really hit and miss," she said.
"At one point, I could only pay half the staff; the other time I had to pay them the following day."
Mrs Rowen said she had rung Telstra several times to report the problem.
"That's the other problem. I can't sit on the phone for an hour at a time... to try to speak to someone about it. I can't keep the phone tied up like that."
Mr Carver said that Telstra was undertaking a range of projects across Australia to increase the capacity of its network, but there were no plans for Bouldercombe at this stage.
He had highlighted the concerns of the Bouldercombe residents with Telstra's engineering team, which continually reviews service.
He encouraged individuals who were experiencing problems with their internet service to contact the Telstra office.