David Littlerpoud MP David Littlerpoud

Telstra is failing regional Australians

March 31, 2022

Landlines are failing and mobile services are deteriorating, with Telstra working at a snail’s pace, if at all, to fix issues or conduct upgrades – this is the legacy of Andy Penn’s tenure as CEO.

Federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud is calling on the new, incoming Telstra CEO to front up and do more for regional customers whose lives and livelihoods are being put at risk from Telstra’s service failings.

“Mr Penn allowed telecommunications across regional Australia to reach crisis point,” Mr Littleproud said.

“He allowed vital landline and mobile infrastructure to degrade and permitting band-aid fixes to occur, despite the terrible impact this is having on regional Australians.”

“I have case after case of Telstra service failings being reported to me by my Maranoa constituents and I implore Telstra’s new, incoming CEO to act otherwise there could be a loss of life.

“There is an elderly couple in my electorate’s town of Chinchilla whose landline fails every time it rains, with Telstra just doing a band-aid fix each time and the problem recurring. This has been going on for the past two years. I have written to Mr Penn about this several times and still Telstra is yet to properly fix this couple’s landline. This couple also have very poor mobile service in their area, so they are dependent on their landline should an emergency occur. Their lives are being put at risk and Mr Penn knows this.”

“Telstra outages have also been occurring in Bedourie and Birdsville, with Telstra having to send for replacement parts from Melbourne. The outages were therefore lengthy, again putting residents’ lives at risk, affecting emergency and medical services and severely impacting businesses through loss of Eftpos.

“There are also some major mobile network over-capacity issues happening in the regions due to an influx of people moving away from city life as a result of COVID-19. This over-capacity problem is causing mobile services to deteriorate rapidly and drop outs are occurring frequently. My constituents have been informing me that there is now very poor mobile service where there used to be good service.

“These same over-capacity issues seem to also be occurring in Millmerran Downs, Captains Mountain, Mungindi, Goondiwindi, Longreach and Wycombe, just to name a few. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a mobile call to drop out three or four times in these areas. Telstra has admitted upgrades need to occur, but are suggesting this may not happen until the 2023 financial year.

“The situation is frankly at crisis point and I am calling on Telstra to front up and commit to immediate major landline and mobile infrastructure upgrades in Maranoa.

“I also expect Telstra to come to the table regarding the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review’s 12 recommendations, which are currently before our Federal Government for adoption and implementation.”