Telstra delays Queensland repairs, declares exchanges unsafe

Telstra has declared 262 ADSL and telephone exchanges in Queensland “no go” zones for its staff, delaying repairs and rectifications to downed services in the disaster-stricken state.

In a notice issued to Telstra Wholesale customers on Wednesday this week, the telco stated continued flooding and power outages across Brisbane and other affected towns across the state prevented technicians from reaching and repairing downed exchanges safely.

A further 199 exchanges were placed in “amber zones” by the company, allowing them to be repaired.

Exchanges in Edison, Ipswich and Fortitude Valley have also been identified as being at significant or moderate risk from flooding or power loss at some point during the ordeal.

Some of the repairs that did continue were fraught with danger, with one Telstra pit west of Mackay uncovering five red-bellied black snakes.

Mobile towers and exchanges at risk of power loss are likely to be put on battery backups to continue services running.

Energex has cut power to as many as 127,000 people in south-east Queensland, with attempts to restore access within 48 hours should flood waters recede.

Telstra has pledged to loan mobile and satellite phones to evacuation centres and organisations as part of its support package to flood-affected areas in Queensland. It also announced the proliferation of 200 prepaid mobiles and $106,000 worth of call cards, to be distributed by Anglicare Australia.

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