Telstra, NBN: Business owner left with limited internet, phone, battles bureaucracy

Frustrated, upset, disappointed; they’re just some of the words an Albury businessman used to describe his transition to the National Broadband Network.

Staffpower owner Ray Wilson has been stuck without phone lines and with limited internet for six weeks – and he has no idea when the ordeal would end.

“It’s been six weeks and I’m no closer to having it resolved,” he said. “No business in this day and age should have to put up with this.”

NBN Co spokeswoman Kasey Ellison said the matter had not been raised with NBN Co by Telstra since a technician fixed a problem at the premises on March 16.

She said service providers, such as Telstra, manage all communication and issue rectification.

Mr Wilson contacted The Border Mail out of sheer frustration, saying he doubted anyone would act without media intervention.

“I’m only the tip of the iceberg, I know I’m not the only one,” he said. “If this is the best that the NBN and Telstra can deliver then we are indeed a third world country.”

After inquiries by The Border Mail Telstra scheduled a technician to visit on Thursday.

Mr Wilson said since connecting to the NBN through Telstra, he lost access to his three phone lines and his internet access became limited, while technicians had shown up unannounced while no one attended scheduled appointments.

Ms Ellison said it was a provider’s job to alert customers as to when a representative would visit.

Mr Wilson said on March 1 Telstra advised him his phone line would be operational on April 4.

“A month! No one appeared to understand or care what that would mean to our business without phone lines,” he said.

“My business relies on phones for about 95 per cent of people contacting us. It’s impacting not only us but people trying to find work and our clients.”

During the April 4 call, Mr Wilson was asked to check his modem, when he arrived back at the phone the call had been disconnected and no one called back.

In the meantime he paid a private company so he could have a single line.

Ms Ellison said NBN visited Staffpower twice in March to successfully carry out necessary repairs.

“NBN is a wholesaler and if [customers] are experiencing an issue, they need to contact their phone or internet provider,” she said.

Telstra Area General Manager Steve Tinker and Telstra media would not say whether they were at fault.

“We are sorry for the poor experience the business has had,” Mr Tinker said.

“We will continue updating the customer on our progress.”