Birdsville residents critical of phone fix response time

A Birdsville service station owner in outback Queensland says she is unhappy with Telstra's response to a disruption that left the remote town without phone lines for five days.

Birdsville Roadhouse owner Bronwynne Barnes says the phone lines went down on Christmas Eve and for five days the town had no access to ATMs, EFTPOS or landline connections.

Ms Barnes says most residents were told the problem would not be fixed for a week.

She says when people ran out of cash and being Christmas, she allowed more than $2,000 worth of goods to be bought on IOUs.

"We just said, 'well, you know we can't let anybody go without anything so yes, we'll just write an IOU'," she said.

"There was a bit of an uproar by Boxing Day and nothing still was happening.

"Social media went into meltdown and that seemed to get [Telstra] people jumping.

"Before that, I don't think [Telstra] were going to do too much." Ms Barnes says all the debts have now been repaid since the phone lines have been restored.

"They did after a few days - everybody has been back in," she said.

Telstra spokesman Nigel Beaman says the lengthy delay was caused by two separate faults.

Mr Beaman says social media had nothing to do with the company's response to the Birdsville disruption.

He says big distances and awkward terrain prevented the faults being fixed faster.

"Some places have faults and as soon as they're reported we get guys on to try and diagnose what and where the issue is and then go out and fix it," he said.

"In the case of Birdsville it's a bit harder to get out there and just given the tyranny of distance.

"[There's] hours of driving to get between the towers - [that] kind of thing and when you get there you've got to run some tests.

"It's just a big vast place out there with awkward terrain and distances to get across."

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