FOR almost a decade part of the Telstra phone line providing Bymount residents with their only available telephone access has been strung on a barb wire fence above two gullies.
The vulnerable set up means flooding, fire or simply pecking birds can cut the service – 500km+ west of Brisbane – at any time.
Following the wet change in February, when heavy rainfall impacted the line again, locals are banding together to finally see action.
Even the act of straining and maintaining the barb wire fence on a local grazier’s property is enough to cut the landlines of the eight landholders reliant on the service. Cattle producers Fiona Vincent and her husband are impacted by the phone line setup.
She questioned Telstra’s commitment and loyalty to rural customers.
“I’ve been married 30 years paying a Telstra bill every month on time, where is their commitment to me, running a business?” she said.
“We knew vegetation management was coming, we have just got pumped and thumped through land valuations...is there anyone out there that does want to help us.”
The Queensland Country Life questioned Telstra over why the phone line situation was left the way it was.
Telstra Area General Manager Darren Clark said their priority was to provide a working service and regret that the permanent solution was not implemented.
“We understand this situation is not acceptable and we apologise,” he said.
“We are in the final stages of designing a permanent solution and will implement it as soon as possible.”
Telstra’s Universal Service Obligation means they ensure standard telephone services “are reasonably accessible to all people in Australia on an equitable basis”.
The Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition, part of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, recently met with politicians stating that 2018 must be a year of action on bush telecommunications.
An ACCAN spokesperson said the USO was extremely important for rural and regional consumers as many areas were without adequate mobile coverage.
“Without a landline or mobile coverage, isolated and remote consumers can be cut off from the outside world,” they said.