St George businesses were left in the lurch last week, with a Telstra outage that lasted four days and caused major headaches for both store owners and customers.
Locals confirmed that service began cutting out intermittently on the Thursday, before dropping out completely on Friday and remaining unresolved until the following Monday afternoon.
Balonne Shire Council CEO Matthew Magin said that the outage was not only a major inconvenience for the community, but also heavily impacted businesses.
"Eftpos wasn't working, wifi wasn't working, the whole town was pretty much shut down because of the Telstra outage," Mr Magin said.
"The only advice we got from Telstra was "we're experiencing difficulties," but there was no suggestion of when it would be back on, no mention of compensation for small businesses."
"Both banks were shut, they couldn't use their ATMs or anything like that, it was just ridiculous."
Richard Marsh has owned the newsagency in St George for 22 years and said the recent outage was the worst he has witnessed in that time.
Mr Mash said both himself and a representative from Golden Casket spoke to Telstra about the cause for the outage and enquired about when the issue would be resolved, but were told there was nothing that could be done at the time.
"I had a chat to Telstra and he was telling me at the start that it'd be seven to 10 days before we would have service and things like that, which obviously stirred me up," Mr Marsh said.
"Then he indicated there was a fault with the exchange here, which I don't know why they couldn't get someone to fix it straightaway, but that was the case and I never really got to the bottom of what the fault was.
"Eventually Golden Casket came back and said that they [Telstra] were aware of the problem and there was nothing more they could do, other than work to get it resolved."
With Eftpos services unavailable at most businesses, Mr Marsh said that locals were trying to withdraw money but tellers were running out of cash and ATM services were also shut down.
"So over the weekend, we lost Saturday lotto and that's fairly significant from our point of view," he said.
"Eftpos is down, you're reliant on cash, you can't get cash out of ATMs because they're down, all of those things just impact on businesses so significantly, and I think more particularly in the bush because they don't have the service representatives out here to do any repairs that might need to be done.
"From a banking facility point of view, none of the community had access to banking other than what they might have had in their pockets.
"You look at that from a business activity point of view, and I'm only one of many, I suppose. It's just frustrating and financially impacting, and there was no suggestion from Telstra that there might have been any compensation or anything like that."
Mr Marsh said one store owner in the main street had access to internet from another provider and attempted to connect other businesses to his wifi, but the connection could only stretch so far.
Telstra Regional General Manager May Boisen said that a transmission issue that affected some mobile and landline services was resolved on Monday the 11th, while nbn services were not affected at any stage.
"Transmission issues can be complex and we worked to get customers back online as quickly as possible. We thank everyone for their patience," Ms Boisen said.
"Residents can continue to make and take calls and texts with their mobile at home or work by using their nbn connection to access Wi-Fi calling. This works even during a mobile outage and is a free setting on most popular mobile phones, which allows your mobile to call using a Wi-Fi network.
"We also encourage business owners talk to their bank about having the option to connect their EFTPOS terminals to their nbn or Wi-Fi connection to prevent delays in processing transactions.
"Having multiple connectivity options is good business practice when reliable connectivity is important and is something Telstra always encourages."
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