The remote community of Wadeye in the Northern Territory is hit by the second Telstra mobile service outage in a fortnight

The restoration of mobile service in the remote community of Wadeye has been delayed – yet again – after a technician arrived on site with a faulty part, meaning the outage is now expected to extend to at least its length. sixth day.

In a statement, Telstra said technicians intended to return to Wadeye “later this week” to undertake repairs, but could not confirm an exact date as to when.

This is the second time in less than two weeks that Wadeye residents have been left without mobile service as the community battles an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Several residents told the ABC that the outage left residents unable to use their Basics cards to buy essentials like groceries and fuel.

One woman said the situation had gotten so bad that “the people of Wadeye tried to sell us art for as little as $10-20 just so they could go get something to eat.”

“Telstra is a huge organization with a lot of resources – they could have chartered a plane last week and fixed this problem,” she said.

Another resident said that the main store in the community, Murrinhpatha Nimmipa store, had set up an “IOU” system for some people during the blackout to prevent people from going hungry.

“We encouraged people not to carry cash or share cigarettes and now they can’t get anything because they don’t have cash,” she said, adding that the queues Waits outside the store were “huge”.

Adding to concerns, she said, shoppers were unable to log in using the QR code check-in app or contact the local health clinic.

“It’s negligence,” she said.

“You can’t reach the police or the clinic, so if you’re sick you have to rely on someone to watch you and take you to the clinic.”

One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said “most people live hand to mouth”.

Telstra should fix the problem this morning

Telstra NT regional general manager Nic Danks said the outage was caused by a “transmission problem” at the Wadeye exchange on Thursday afternoon, which impacted Telstra’s 3G and 4G mobile services. Telstra.

Landlines, payphones and NBN internet services were not affected, he said.

“To restore services, we need to replace a specialist part that was ordered,” Mr Danks said.

“Telstra apologizes for any inconvenience caused to the community during this time.”

On Sunday evening, a Telstra spokesman said a technician was due to arrive on site around 10 a.m. Monday to restore mobile services.

However, repairs have been delayed – yet again – after the new part the technician brought to the site today was found to be faulty.

The spokesman said Telstra intended to return to Wadeye “later this week” to undertake repairs.

“We again apologize to the affected local residents,” he said.

Mr Danks said the pre-Wadeye outage that began on January 30 was caused by a loss of mains power to the exchange and was unrelated to the current transmission problem.

He said Telstra was encouraging local stores to have back-up connectivity options, such as NBN satellite service or connecting EFTPOS via a landline, and residents with access to a wi-fi signal should enable wi-fi calling. -fi on their mobiles.

“Telstra does not operate the EFTPOS network, it is operated by financial institutions,” Mr Danks said.

“Most EFTPOS machines have the ability to connect via landline, Wi-Fi or mobile services.”

In December, residents of another Top End community went five days without the internet, compromising their access to food, healthcare and emergency services.

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