Sick of jumping up and down for three years about a damaged Telstra phone line Bentley farmer Tom Pratt fixes any breaks.
Sick of jumping up and down for three years about a damaged Telstra phone line Bentley farmer Tom Pratt fixes any breaks. CATHY ADAMS

Telstra's way of connecting at Bentley

IF YOU see Bentley farmer Tom Pratt out in the rain in his paddock late at night, torch between his teeth, pair of pliers in his hand, you might want to stop and help: He's trying to fix his Telstra phone line.

For the past three years the good-natured bloke who lives at the foot of the Mackellar Range has put up with a temporary cable stretching from a connection box along Back Creek Road to his house.

To top it off, the property, located between Lismore, Casino and Kyogle, is a mobile phone reception black spot.

“Maybe if we gave Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo a pay rise he might get something done about his country customers,” said Mr Pratt with a wink.

Mr Pratt's phone line is a case in point: Between the road and his house it weaves along his fence line, around the garden beds and up his front path and under the door.

As an exposed cable it has its fallibilities - like when a cow puts its head through the fence to gather some green pick on the other side. When the beast pulls her head back it usually catches a horn on the line and tears it in half.

“I run a business here and at times people do need to contact me,” he said. “This issue is minor in the scheme of things. I've still got my health, for instance.

“I've taught myself how to fix the breaks in the line. As long as no one rings me up while I'm tying the wire I won't get a jolt.”

After The Star rang Telstra about the problem, they got back to Mr Pratt that day.

“I can advise that we have contacted Mr Pratt about his situation today (Friday) and one of our service team leaders will be on site on Monday morning (today) to determine what is required to provide a permanent cable to his house as quickly and safely as possible,” wrote Telstra spokes- woman Lucy Wicks in an email to The Northern Star.

“From time to time Telstra will implement a temporary fix to ensure customers have access to a working service, which is always our first priority, until more permanent repairs can be completed. How many are in place will differ at different times,” she wrote.

“The use of temporary cables is restricted to cases where there is simply no other way to give the customer a service. It is not the preferred approach nor the standard. In fact, temporary cables account for a very, very small percentage of services.

“Where temporary fixes are put in place they are recorded so that permanent repairs can be carried out. Completion dates are prioritised based on a range of factors which can include the number of customers affected, safety and security.”



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