Mobile meltdown prompts petition

A summer mobile meltdown and i-crash has Batemans Bay businesses resorting to paper to petition major telcos and government.

The Eurobodalla’s data-hungry population triples to an estimated 105,000 people in the summer surge, and congested mobile, internet and ATM carriers have crashed under the load of extra smart phones and tablets.

Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce president Natasha Driscoll said she had been unable to make mobile calls or use the internet in peak periods, forcing her to wait until traffic died down.

“Even then it was unreliable,” she said.

She believed eftpos services were also clogged.

“While we have such an influx of visitors, it is not only poor for residents, it is frustrating for visitors,” she said.

“Lack of internet services, phone lines dropping in and out, it is not professional or becoming for the region. 

“We are in an age of technology, everyone has a smart phone or a tablet. We are used to wi-fi. To be turned off forcibly is frustrating.

“It is important for everyone over the holidays to ring family and friends.

“People in Canberra and Sydney have adequate coverage, why should we be penalised in a peak period?

“On Friday, between Christmas and New Year I was unable to make a phone call from my 

personal mobile. That is the first time that has happened. 

“On Wednesday, I was unable to send text messages due to the congestion. I have been unable to get a reliable internet connection until late at night, after 10pm.”

Ms Driscoll said residents were frustrated that rent payments and internet banking had to be conducted in person, rather than online.

“They are complaining they have to do it ‘the old-fashioned way’.”

Ms Driscoll said Chamber members were disgruntled, with one complaining his eftpos facilities had failed.

“Something needs to be done,” she said.

Batemans Bay Soldiers Club operations manager Matthew Edwards complained of wireless congestion.

“The lack of wireless coverage has made it increasingly difficult to service the needs of our customers and in this day and age we should have a reliable and working system,” he said.

Ms Driscoll said the overall experience was disappointing for visitors.

“It is a negative impact of coming for a visit, like getting a parking fine. If I was a kid and had got a tablet for Christmas, I would be devastated if I couldn’t connect to the internet,” she said.

She said the Chamber was drawing up a petition to be sent to the major telcos and MPs and residents and visitors could email for details.

Moruya Chamber of Commerce president Lilian Brindley said feedback would be sought from members next week.

Meanwhile, traffic of the old fashioned kind is frustrating residents and visitors, with the car park beneath Batemans Bay Village Centre closed at least twice on Wednesday, causing CBD traffic to bank up as security guards turned cars away.

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