Mayor wants answers over Telstra breakdown

QUESTIONS will be asked in high places about the crippling Telstra exchange fire and what can be done to prevent the south-west being blacked out again.

Warrnambool's mayor Cr Michael Neoh will call on his colleagues tonight to lobby federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and Wannon MP Dan Tehan.

Cr Neoh said it was a national security issue.

"This undermines the protection of our essential services," he said.

"I'm sure the council will want to know what the government is going to do to prevent this breakdown again.

"Maybe we should be looking further ahead at satellite and wireless links rather than relying on physical lines.

"The entire Great South Coast group of municipalities will want answers to this.

"We've lost business, tourism and accommodation revenue because of the exchange fire and we certainly don't want it to happen again."

Cr Neoh said he was concerned that with the promised rollout of NBN high-speed broadband into the region there would be even more reliance on technology.

"Our region certainly doesn't want to miss out on the NBN rollout, but the question I see is should we be relying on physical infrastructure or go to wireless or satellite," he said. "If we become too reliant on NBN what will happen if a main point is severed?

"I'll be raising it at the council meeting Monday night and suggest that we write to Senator Conroy and Mr Tehan about what they are going to do to stop it happening again."

Cr Neoh said businesses were still experiencing inconvenience mainly because of the breakdown in EFTPOS, but coping well.

"We want to get the message out that Warrnambool is still open and we don't want people to stay away just because of this," the mayor said.

pcollins@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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