Community

Landline troubles for seniors changing to NBN

Sandstone Point resident Jean Walton was frustrated after having no landline for three weeks while changing to the NBN.
Sandstone Point resident Jean Walton was frustrated after having no landline for three weeks while changing to the NBN. Kyle Zenchyson

LURED by the prospect of high-speed internet, many residents on Bribie Island and surrounding suburbs have switched over to the National Broadband Network's fibre network.

The process, however, has not been trouble-free, particularly for many senior citizens who were left without a line of communication while transitioning to the NBN.

Sandstone Point resident Jean Walton said not having a landline for nearly three weeks was stressful as she did not regularly use her mobile phone. She also relies on a medical alert signaller that interfaces with her phone as she lives alone.

"I was 18 days without my phone,” she said.

"I'm 81 and the whole operation was so stressful. I had a minimum of three case managers and you never get the same person twice.”

Ms Walton said her telecommunications provider talked her into changing to the NBN but she was now having second thoughts, as were many others she knew including one person who was off-line for seven weeks.

"I regret it now,” she said.

"My friends, almost all of them complain.”

Up the road at Ningi, resident John Kriedemann said he had been having problems with his landline since the NBN was installed.

Nearby Ningi couple Graeme and Karin Stevens spent many weeks without internet or a landline and being in a blackspot for mobile coverage meant they had to walk to the park at night to troubleshoot their issues with their provider.

"There have been times where I've been on that phone for up to six hours,” Mr Stevens said.

"I've been into hospital 18 times in the last three years... and I'm not at that period of my life where I can do that too much any more.”

Mr Stevens, who turns 80 soon, said he was now pleased with the connection but was still waiting to be credited for about $600 worth of mobile phone calls to solve his NBN problems.

Over the bridge, Bongaree resident June Graham, 85, remains mystified by problems she has had with her landline since connecting to the NBN.

"Yesterday I was calling and the red buttons came on and I couldn't use it for two minutes,” she said.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and Communications Alliance revealed complaints from April to June increased 3.2% from the previous financial quarter, which was unusual for this time of year.

But the number of complaints fell 1.5% from the same time last year.

Nbn spokeswoman Kylie Lindsay said nbn was "not aware of any issues around Ningi and Bribie Island”.

"If residents and businesses have any concerns with the service they are receiving, they should contact their retail service provider,” she said.


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