Rollands Plains residents claim telecommunications provider Telstra is 'hiding behind a natural disaster ' as phone outages continue in the area.
Local residents suffered mobile phone and landline outages during December 2020 and January this year, before losing all connection during the March floods.
A 50m mobile telecommunications tower services Rolland Plains with Telstra 3G and 4G services, located 6km away in Cairncross.
Rollands Plains blueberry hobby farmer Neil Jones, who has been without a phone connection for six weeks, said elderly, sick or injured people don't have a chance to contact anyone for help during an emergency.
"Our landline service goes down whenever the power goes out, there is no backup battery or generator for the tower. The reason why that is important is because many hills and valleys here do not get mobile service," he said.
"It's a situation that occurs in Kundabung and Pappinbarra as well where there isn't a mobile service and the landline service is failing when power is cut.
"It's a really big issue and was quite distressing for us when my wife Janette was ill during the floods. We had to set up a satellite internet connection so she could be flown out by the SES during the floods for sudden medical treatment."
Mr Jones said if telecommunications companies don't want to secure landlines properly they should have to absorb the cost of providing mobile coverage.
"It's really beyond a joke and become a third world situation in a country where we would expect to have good communications," he said.
"People are suffering alone in their homes without a phone and Telstra are hiding behind a natural disaster to shield them from criticism of how they behave."
Rollands Plains cattle farmer Phil Morton said residents are seeking assistance from Cowper MP Pat Conaghan and Member for Lyne, David Gillespie.
"There's landlines affected but also all our mobiles went out in the floods and the bushfires. I know of one landline that I believe has been out for six weeks," he said.
"I think it has been put in the too hard basket by the telecommunication companies. If we don't talk about this now it will soon be forgotten."
A Telstra spokesman said any customers still experiencing issues with fixed line or mobile services are encouraged to contact their service provider and report a fault.
"Generally the Rollands Plains area does have good outdoor coverage from Telstra and other providers, however there are some areas that may experience poorer coverage due to the local hilly terrain," the spokesperson said.
"In these cases, customers could consider the use of an external antenna or a mobile booster to improve their coverage and ability to make and receive calls or they could try the free option of wifi calling if they have the NBN connected at home.
"During the recent floods, this site lost mains power for almost a week and resulted in a loss of telecommunications services to the area during this time.
"We prioritised the attendance of technicians and attempted to access the site multiple times but were unable to due to the local weather conditions.
"A generator was finally able to be deployed to the facility on March 25, restoring services for the area. Telstra apologises for the service impacts to our customers during this challenging time."
The spokesman said mobile coverage can be impacted by a variety of factors including distance from the tower, terrain (hills or valleys), built infrastructure and the type of handsets being used.
Mr Jones said the company was passing responsibility back to Rollands Plains residents.
"This is Telstra putting the problem they have created into the lap of the people they are supposed to be supporting as customers," he said.
"Nowadays it's like they are cutting people short and if you don't fit the criteria for getting a good signal, then you're the one who has to fix it up.
"When you compare the response between Essential Energy, Red Cross, council and all the charity groups there is one organisation that hasn't stepped up to help people. Telstra keep putting it back on people to solve their own problems and keep providing their monthly payment."
A spokesman for the office of Cowper MP Pat Conaghan, said Mr Conaghan had met with Rollands Plains residents in April and is advocating for additional funding for digital two-way UHF radio services and repeater stations.
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