Community members reported the outage at 3.45pm on Tuesday, August 31 but it was not until last Thursday, September 9, that the problem was resolved.
A Telstra employee wasn’t able to confirm the issue when Cape York Weekly contacted them last Tuesday, but followed up and confirmed that there was a problem.
The telco then sent technicians to Seisia to investigate the issue on Wednesday and the problem was fixed by Thursday.
“Telstra technicians have today completed repairs on a broken optic fibre cable that was impacting the ADSL services of approximately 40 properties in Seisia since the start of September,” said Rachel Cliffe, Telstra’s Queensland regional general manager.
“Fixed line telephones, NBN satellite internet and Telstra mobile coverage were not impacted during this time.
“The impacted cable solely served Seisia, which explains why other communities in the area were not affected. We try and fix problems as quickly as possible and our technicians had visited the site on a number of occasions but the cause had proved elusive to find.”
“We originally replaced some pieces of hardware that we thought was the cause but turned out not to be, so we had to go and investigate further,” Ms Cliffe said.
“We apologise for any inconvenience to local customers during this time.”
Seisia Enterprise CEO Arthur Wong said conducting business was almost impossible without an internet service.
“Our businesses cannot be effective with no internet, especially email,” he said.
“We have been unable to contact our suppliers, contact our HR consultant, unable to process invoices to continue cash flow and unable to do bookings at the holiday park.
“Telstra’s service in this community has not been satisfactory for years.”
Joseph Elu, former chair of Indigenous Business Australia and former deputy chair of Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation said that communities like Seisia could not grow without appropriate and affordable telecommunications.
“Having telecoms like internet and good coverage in this day and age is a basic need for businesses – and households, and it hinders business when they don’t have reliable telecommunications,” he said.
The ADSL outage in Seisia was made worse by the fact the small coastal community has poor 4G signal, meaning that most residents were unable to use their phones as a mobile hotspot to access the internet.