A Red Cross volunteer on call this week to man bushfire evacuation centres in the Eurobodalla and nearby has lost patience with the summer mobile meltdown.
Batemans Bay’s Keith Blayden has been on call all week but congested mobile and wireless networks have often left him isolated.
He also cares for his elderly mother and runs a health care support group and says the lack of Vodafone mobile service and Telstra wireless coverage must be fixed.
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By Sunday, when he could not send emails until past midnight, he took action.
“I have written to the Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, the Shadow Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the telecommunications industry ombudsman,” Mr Blayden said.
“I wrote when I couldn’t get any connection and it was 4am before I could send emails.
“You pay upfront. Imagine going into a service station, paying for petrol and then going to fill up and the pump does not work or there is no fuel in the bowser.”
Mr Blayden says his trouble started before Christmas and only got worse. He has contacted both Vodafone and Telstra, but is still experiencing difficulty.
Meanwhile, a North Batemans Bay businesswoman says communications have let her down at the busiest time of year.
Meredith Williams, of Eurobodalla Coast Pumpouts, says calls from customers needing septic and waste water tanks emptied have continually dropped out on her mobile phone or clients have been unable to hear her.
“It started a week before Christmas,” she said.
“I don’t get great coverage anyway, but it had deteriorated. The call would cut out. People can’t hear you and this is our peak time.
“After Christmas I rang Telstra and got a diversion to my landline.”
That was an improvement, until the New Year when her neighbourhood’s landline network crashed.
“I had to go to my parents’ house in Dalmeny for two days while the phone was being fixed so I could run our business,” she said.
With true telecommunications irony, Telstra offered to divert her landline to her mobile during this period.
Mrs Williams has since signed the Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce’s petition for better services.
“If Telstra is going to charge you, give you a bill every month for your mobile, the system should work,” she said.
“It is not like I am in a ditch or 50km out in the bush. I am on top of a hill, 200 metres off the Princes Highway.”
Chamber president Natasha Driscoll said hundreds had already signed the petition and she had personally distributed more than 100 sheets to businesses.
She has called on the whole shire to get behind the campaign.
“As a shire we will have more clout than just as Batemans Bay,” she said. “It is a shire issue.”
Ms Driscoll asked anyone affected to send comments or letters to the Chamber.
“The more people have to say, the louder we will be heard,” she said.