Telstra sorry for north Qld outage

Telstra has apologised for a major outage that cut communications in the northern half of Queensland.

Since the weekend, landlines, mobile phones and internet access has been affected north of Gladstone, after flooding damaged cables near Bundaberg and Kingaroy.

Telstra's May Boisen says technicians worked in tough conditions to restore services late yesterday.

"To get the amount of services restored that we did in such a short period ...

it's a credit to the guys ...

they were working in extreme conditions in flooded areas, walking in there and trying to deal with cables and stuff," she said.

"So it's a very difficult time for everybody, we apologise that this has happened to our customers." Telstra says it cannot rule out more disruptions in northern Queensland as the flood emergency continues further south.

Ms Boisen says repairs were hampered by flooding and power outages.

"I've been with this organisation for over 15 years and this has never happened since I've been in the role," she said.

"However, as after any disaster we will review what we have in place and always look at improving services to our customers." Telstra says any claims for compensation after yesterday's widespread outage will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Ms Boisen says it will assess individual claims.

"I think that would be on a case-by-case basis," she said.

"The customers or the businesses would be dealt with individually in that scenario.

"So it's just a matter of waiting and seeing what our business comes back with as well but we do normally businesses individually when this sort of situation happens." 'Serious questions' The Local Government Minister says it is not good enough that alternative triple-zero numbers had to be used across large parts of the state during the outage.

The triple-zero number in parts of north Queensland stopped working, along with mobile phone, some landline and internet services.

David Crisafulli says once the flood emergency is over there will be a review of the state's emergency communications back-up system.

"When a crisis is on people are struggling to absorb the information as it is," he said.

"The one comfort they know is that when crisis hits at least they know what number to ring to get immediate service, when that number's not there you do have to ask some serious questions." Townsville's Mayor says she will be talking with the city's local disaster management group and state members about how to prevent another major telecommunications outage in the north.

Jenny Hill says her biggest concern was for the city's emergency services, who had to rely on two alternative triple-0 numbers.

"What that meant to the community, especially in times of emergency, what it meant to health services here, what it meant to ambulance services, police and ...

the firemen, that's the real concern I have for the fact that this has gone down and the fact that the State Government didn't really see it as a priority," she said.

"What should've happened was as part of the disaster management in the south-east corner it wouldn't have taken very much to ensure yesterday that information was made available - people have been on their TV sets watching what's happening down south.

"It was our only link in terms of communication with residents here in north Queensland and it was impossible to get the message out." Business impact The Townsville Chamber of Commerce president Dawson Wilkie says businesses across the region suffered as a result of the outages.

"When you do think of the number of places where you do use a plastic card, that's the norm ...

and if you find yourself without money, well you couldn't get money because you couldn't get into the ATM machine, so it certainly curtailed a lot of spending over the weekend that's for sure," he said.

"Well it's that opportunistic sale that hasn't happened ...

people haven't been able to buy the things and I guess at the same time shops are being open over the long weekend and would have been expecting a busy trade given it's school going back and that sort of thing and that's been virtually lost for a lot of small businesses." Farmers say the telecommunications breakdown created more stress, after days of highway flooding caused havoc for transporting produce.

Mareeba fruit grower Marcello Avolio says farmers need reliable telecommunications services.

"A simple example was that I was waiting for a simple label, a gif image, by email from down Brisbane and I just couldn't get it," he said.

"So if I didn't get it today, I couldn't send fruit today.

That's the big deal."

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