Mosman childcare centre left helpless after THREE MONTH Telstra fail.
A well-known Mosman day care centre has been left without phone or internet coverage for almost three months, leaving teachers with limited contact and concerned about safety in emergencies.
The Lookout Early Education Centre at Georges Heights was disconnected without warning on Tuesday 9 February, with no word from Telstra on when their service will be restored. The centre had already converted across to a new NBN service last year.
Centre Director Victoria Herbert says the outage has forced teachers to use wifi dongles attached to their mobile phones, in a desperate attempt to remain connected with parents should the need arise.
“A working phone line and access to the internet is crucial for our business,” she said, “the centre has reverted back to old fashioned pen and paper, busy parents in a rush are struggling to sign in and out, and we reverted to mobile wifi to communicate with the outside world.”
“A carrier pigeon could deliver vital messages to our parents and staff faster than Telstra could.
“As each day goes by, we become more and more frustrated – to the point where we needed Mosman Collective’s help to get the word out.”
With 48 students aged between 0-6 years on the roll each weekday, The Lookout can no longer send photos, newsletters or daily student updates via email.
“We can’t use EFTPOS or internet banking with any efficiency, we can’t order supplies online, and we can’t download educational material needed for the kids while we are at work,” she said.
“You’d think an essential service like a childcare centre would be placed on a priority list by Telstra, we are beyond disappointed at the lack of response.”
Ms. Herbert says she arrived at work on the morning of February 9, to find the phone line and internet not working.
“Telstra told me there was an outage in Mosman and that the service would be restored the following day,” she said.
“After two weeks, a technician came out and informed us our phone was on the old copper line and had been cut, that no data was coming through from Telstra and we were ensured it would be fixed.”
“That was more than 11 weeks ago.
“Our phone and internet never came back on – and we’ve been contacting Telstra ever since.
Mosman Collective has been provided with copies of numerous emails sent from the childcare centre to Telstra, which at one point plead with the communications giant to escalate their case and ask why they were being ignored.
“I am reaching out to you because I feel like our requests for this to be fixed are being ignored and pushed to the side and it is now affecting the operations of the business. Are you able to escalate this for us and chase up what is going on with our case?” an email dated 8 March says.
Ms. Herbert said the business is now suffering, with the parent community growing “more and more” frustrated as the phone and internet debacle continues.
“We are an essential service, and this has had a huge impact on the business.
“We must have a phone line and internet to be able to communicate with our families. We have had to get a centre mobile phone to be able to contact the parents, and the staff are working on mobile dongles in the office and classrooms.
“We have lost control of our main, landline phone number.
“Owners Andrew Learmont and Jonathon Fitch own five childcare services and have had ongoing issues with Telstra at two of them. At Allambie Bush Kindy it’s taken Telstra 10 months to install NBN.
Our case manager is offshore and can’t be contacted. Meanwhile, we are still being charged for non-existent Telstra services.”
Ms. Herbert says two formal complaints made to the NSW Telecommunications Ombusdman have also gone unanswered.
The childcare centre has now employed its own data cabling and IT experts, who confirm the outage is a Telstra issue.
Meanwhile, students at the school have decided to take matters into their own hands, making “string telephones” and writing a song with the help of staff, to share their frustration.
The lyrics go like this:
Who Needs Telstra
Who needs Telstra
Who needs Telstra
Our phones don’t work anyway
We can’t call Mummy
We can’t call Daddy
We can’t call Granny
Our phones won’t work today
We’re looking for a white van
We’re looking for a blue van
We’re looking for any van
Is the technician on their way
Mosman Collective has contacted Telstra but had not received a response at the time of publication.
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