Telstra faces tough time over deaths
ANGRY Mackay residents hope a meeting today between Member for Dawson George Christensen and Telstra management will produce an answer to why 000 failed Queenslanders during the Australia Day long weekend floods.
Mr Christensen will meet with a local Telstra executive, technician and a media spokeswoman this afternoon to hand over a list of 10 questions regarding the communication breakdown.
The federal MP called for a meeting with Telstra after the death of two elderly residents whose home alert systems, connected to 000 through Telstra, failed during the communication breakdown.
Fay Craigie, 75, was found up to 12 hours after she pressed her home alert button and died three days later in hospital.
Colin Gray, 81, attempted to use his button while having a heart attack and was forced to call his daughter for a lift to the hospital when the system failed to connect to 000.
He died a week later at home with only 20% of his heart functioning.
Mr Christensen said he would wait to speak with Telstra before calling for an official parliamentary inquiry into the system breakdown.
"My first port of call is to try and get answers through Telstra and their regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority," he said.
Ms Craigie's daughter Anne-Marie Rankmore and Mr Gray's daughter Yvonne Smith joined forces last week to start a petition seeking better Telstra back-up services.
Ms Rankmore believed there would be "no problems at all" gathering signatures for the petition.
"There are a lot of angry people out there," she said.
She asked anyone who had experienced problems with their home alert system or had tried to contact 000 during the Telstra outage to contact the Daily Mercury for her details.
"With more people behind this petition we have more power," Ms Rankmore said.
1. If the main Telstra fibre optic cable, the back-up cable and the new back-up to the back-up cable were all cut, would this result in another outage of the 000 service to Telstra customers?
2. During the telecommunications breakdown, many Telstra mobile phones indicated that users could still make SOS calls. Why then couldn't they access 000?
3. How does the 000 service normally work for Telstra mobile customers when there is a signal drop-out?
4. Is it correct that the 000 services route through to other telcos when there is a drop-out of signal?
5. Is this a possibility?
6. What current measures has Telstra put in place to avoid a repeat of the 000 outage to customers?
7. Regarding personal alarm buttons, do these route through to 000?
8. It's believed there was an alternative emergency number available for Telstra mobile customers. What was that number, what promotion of that number occurred and why aren't people more regularly informed of this number in case of these emergency situations?
9. Why didn't the personal alarm system divert through to this number?
10. What can the Federal and/or State governments do to assist Telstra and other telcos to ensure surety of access to 000 services?