Manilla residents and businesses plagued by Telstra mobile blackout for weeks

NO RECEPTION: Manilla residents say there has been no mobile coverage between 9am to 5pm for weeks.
NO RECEPTION: Manilla residents say there has been no mobile coverage between 9am to 5pm for weeks.

A BLANKET of silence has been cast over Manilla, with the town experiencing a Telstra mobile blackout for the last fortnight.

Supermarkets, businesses and emergency services have been majorly inconvenienced and embarrassed by the lack of service, labelling it a “nightmare”.

Manilla locals echo the fact there was “no notification” of the blackouts and they aren’t sure whether it’s maintenance or upgrades causing the disruption.

Jodie Sing, a supervisor at Carlo’s IGA in Manilla, said the mobile outage was causing dramas for stock delivery and customer orders.

But a bigger concern for Ms Sing is having her pager for her role as a retained fire-fighter linked through her mobile phone.

“If we did have any emergencies, how would we know,” Ms Sing said.

“Only some [emergency services] have pagers, most of them rely on mobiles.”

Just down Manilla St, Vickii Cocking co-owner of the Royal Hotel said the local pub had “a nightmare” of a time.

“We have a Telstra business line, so when it went out, it took out the EFTPOS and the computers,” Ms Cocking said.

“It was terrible, the first night it went out we had a full dining room and everyone wanted to pay with EFTPOS.”

Ms Cocking said there was no warning the outage was coming and wasn’t aware what was behind the problem.

Meanwhile, Manilla newsagency owner Jan McManus said she hadn’t been very disadvantaged by the lack of coverage.

“Honestly, I can say I haven’t noticed it,” she said.

“I don’t rely on my mobile, I only use it for personal things.”

Ms McManus said she’s had “the odd comment from customers saying it’s pretty bad”, but it’s business as usual for the newsagent.

Cr Jim Maxwell said he’s been inconvenienced by the blackout, relying on his mobile for council-related business.

While he said it was “a bit of a pain” he said there was some pretty serious consequences if emergency services got left out of the loop.

A spokesperson for Telstra issued a statement regarding Manilla’s phone issues, and said work was underway to fix the problem.

"We wish to apologise for the interruption to some mobile services in the area,” the spokesperson said.

“We have been undertaking maintenance work on the tower to rectify the issue.

“We understand the inconvenience this can cause and we thank customers for their patience while the work is being completed.”

This story first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader