Rocky business owners' fury with bungled NBN roll out
TIMES are already tough and Rockhampton businesses are now contending with a serious case of NBN rage which seems to be contagious.
Frustrated business owners lacking functional phone lines, Scott Conaghan from Peter Conaghan Electrical and Shane Warner from Charlie's Pest Control, have gone public with their NBN woes to assure the people of Rockhampton they are still open and to draw attention to their plight.
"Telstra/NBN have come to my office last Thursday to do a signal check after the technician left, our main phone line hasn't been working,” Mr Conaghan said.
"After phone call, after phone call, I then had it diverted to my mobile.”
Mr Conaghan said he called Telstra again on Monday to ask what was happening and spoke to "someone who could barely speak English” and they took the diversion off his mobile.
"I then got a phone call from Telstra after that who informed me that they had done a 'systems upgrade' and could no longer divert my landline to my mobile and therefore my business had no phone,” he said.
"When I spoke to the NBN Co they said they were escalating my case, that's all I got back.”
By his own admission, Mr Conaghan's electrical business, which had been around for 50 years and employed five people, was doing it tough.
He said every call his business was missing over the past five days with his disconnected phone line was costing him from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
"How can you convince me that our local federal member does not know that we have such a disaster with the NBN change-over?” he said.
"How can this be happening in the 21st century in a government- owned business, the NBN Co, and it being an absolute cluster f***.
"I've rung (Capricornia MP) Michelle Landry's office to tell her I'm talking to the Bulletin because I've had enough of hearing stories from so many different people over the month.”
When Mr Conaghan sent out a message on Facebook on Monday explaining he had no phone line, other local businesses contacted him to share their outrage with Telstra and NBN Co, including Robo's Tyres, Adorn Hair, Hillman Motors, who had the same problem.
His Facebook message was shared over 150 times and struck a chord with several outraged business owners including Shane Warner.
Mr Warner was equally furious that the phone line to his 30-year-old pest control business was cut and had heard personally of customers attempting to contact his competition, thinking his business had closed.
"Not being able to be contacted by your customers is outrageous at this point in time, given the supposed NBN technology that we're all encouraged to be a part of,” Mr Warner said.
He said his business applied to have the NBN connected and a new phone system put in three months ago.
Last Wednesday, Mr Warner said the technician was booked in to switch the analogue system across to the NBN.
"They came, cut it over, the NBN worked for two minutes and then fell over,” Mr Warner said.
"The Telstra guy couldn't tell what line had the NBN service on it and the NBN guy was supposed to tag the line to say which one he connected the NBN on.”
Mr Warner said the Telstra technician started cutting wires, said he had got it done, it stopped working and then the technician advised him he had to change back to the analogue system.
"We've got four lines into the premises. In that process we lost two phone lines,” he said.
"So we still had two operating numbers which allowed our customers to continue to ring, and they would organise to have it done again at some stage.”
He said on Monday morning the phones worked for about an hour before he started getting emails saying his phones were disconnected.
He contacted Telstra and it was unable to divert the business lines to his mobile saying it would escalate his complaint and his phone would be fixed on Friday.
Telstra area general manager Rachel Cliffe said this was not the experience Telstra wanted customers to have and raised both cases with NBN Co.
"We are working closely with both customers and NBN Co to ensure they are reconnected as quickly as possible,” Ms Cliffe said.
An NBN Co spokesperson said in Mr Conaghan's case, a technician attended on September 21 and repaired a jumpering problem which was causing cross-connect.
"This fault was closed but yesterday the retail service provider contacted us to advise that he was still receiving poor throughput,” they said.
"A further matter was raised and a technician is attending between 1pm and 5pm tomorrow to address and repair this.”
In Mr Warner's case, the NBN Co spokesperson said his fault was finalised on the September 21.
"A tech attended and there was no NBN fault found at the property with testing showing workability to the boundary point,” they said.
"There has been no response from the retail service provider to dispute this.
"Should the customer be experiencing any service issues, it is important they contact their retail service provider in the first instance and once we are made aware of an issue the NBN Co works to repair and restore a service as soon as possible.”
Ms Landry said she shared the frustrations of many local businesses who were having difficulty in transitioning to the NBN.
"While no change is ever without its challenges, the introduction of the NBN has been a source of both frustration and joy for people from all corners of CQ,” she said.
"I know NBN Co is getting on with the job of rolling out their service with one out of two people now able to connect.
"I have made represent- ations to Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield, NBN Co and Telstra to discuss the issues some businesses are having with the changeover, and my doors remain open to those who require assistance to deal with their frustrations.”