Telstra outages not good enough: Local business

Published Monday 9 May 2016

THE local business community remains frustrated over the internet connectivity problem in the Douglas Shire and have voiced their concerns to Telstra.

Telstra’s Mark Proctor addressed the Douglas Chamber of Commerce at the Port Douglas Yacht Club last week, where he reiterated the town wouldn’t have the National Broadband Network until 2018 and beyond.

There was an air of frustrating at the meeting as local business came to the realisation their internet woes would continue for some time.

Janet Mackay, from Island Point Interiors, commended the Chamber’s new open meeting format and said the topic was very appropriate ‘because it is affecting everybody.’

“My internet is basically my resource library,” she said.

“I rarely go to a book anymore and use the internet to show or select products, and sometimes I can be sitting there for minutes and minutes for something to upload, and in the end I just give up.

“It can make you look really unprofessional.”

One member requested compensation from Telstra for connection dropouts to her business, while unreliable coverage is constantly reported in Island Point and Craiglie.

Reef and tour operator Cathie Jones, from Tropical Journeys, said it was a major issue for the town.

“We rely on it, our reservation systems and phone systems rely on it so if it goes down, we’ve got no reservation system,” Jones said.

“If you come in of a morning and you’ve got to get 300 people out to the Reef and you can’t access your reservations system, it’s a nightmare.”

<link chamber-s-open-policy-welcomed-but-inte.13726.0.html>Chamber's open policy welcomed

Douglas Chamber of Commerce President Helen De Ross said she expected members to have plenty of questions for Telstra given the impact it was having on local business.

“I think he (Proctor) is used to that,” she said.

“I think he handled it quite well, he managed to answer everyone’s questions. Some times the answers were not exactly what members were hoping for.”

The comments came at the Chamber’s first quarterly open meeting, which was attended by around 40 people.

Chamber has previously held open breakfast meetings more focused around guest speakers, however the new quarterly concept hopes to generate better dialogue among members.

“We were happy with the turn out and it was a very engaged audience,” she said.

“They had a lot of questions for Telstra and weren’t shy to ask them which is great, there is nothing worse than everyone just sitting there and probably tuning out.

“It’s all about engaging our members so that they can contribute.”