Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Telstra's understanding of remote Australia needs

Having won a competition to review the HTC desire from Telstra on 14th May I was pleased to see that Telstra was interested in understanding the different needs of remote Australia.

I live in a remote Northern Territory town of 4000 people called Nhulunbuy (or Gove) which is only serviced via flights and a weekly barge for deliveries due to roads flooding during the wet season, as happens across the top end of Australia. Having items delivered by air mail is as fast as in urban centres for regular mail, taking only a couple of days for the item to get here. The barge however, which transports all ground mail can take up to 3 weeks depending on the weather conditions.

It is now the 25th May, 12 days after Telstra sent the item and the phone has still not arrived. I would put this down to the Australian Post service, however due to logistical and cost constraints it is understandable that low priority mail can take time to arrive. One possible conclusion is that Telstra, as an essential communication service, may not fully understand that being without a phone for weeks on end is difficult mentally and sometimes physically dangerous in an area which there are few people to help you in an emergency situation.

I am not suggesting that Telstra does not take this responsibility lightly, as there are maintenance acceleration programs in place which ensure that people with health problems have problems rectified as soon as possible. What I am suggesting is that there are still areas which Telstra may not fully understand the unique living conditions that remote Australia presents.

Again, I don't think this shows a lack of leadership or poor service on Telstra's behalf. What it does show is that with evolving communications and focus on cutting edge technology in urban areas that there needs to be equal attention paid to new solutions and improvements to remote services.

As for the phone, my hope is that it will arrive by the end of the week and I will be able to present some videos and reports on how telecommunications impacts on remote Australia.

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