IT has been a long haul but when the Telstra exchange is fully recovered it will be one of the most state-of-the-art in the network.
Three months after a devastating fire, Telstra regional manager Bill Mundy said the work was all about recovery to ensure that the building was restored to its normal condition.
“A lot of that work is actually going on above us in the actual roof space because the roof space has to be replaced,” he said.
“We’ve got to replace the timbers, replace the roofing iron. We have to replace all of the structure that was either damaged by the water or the work that we did to madly replace it to get it back to normal.”
Mr Mundy said technicians would remain in Warrnambool for at least another eight weeks as part of major recovery works, but work would continue at the site on and off for the remainder of the year.
He said the exchange would have ADSL2+, which meant broadband could be delivered at the highest possible speed. “We’re using as many local contractors as we can to do the work that we’re doing as part of the recovery and a lot of the recycling of the materials will be done locally as well,” he said.
Mr Mundy said he was comfortable with the way compensation claims were being handled.
“We’ve done well over 1000 individual claims for under $1000 and we’ve got a much smaller number of over $1000 claims,” he said.
“As we received the under $1000 claims we continue to pay them upon receipt so we’re turning those around in a 24 to 48-hour time period.
“With the much larger claims it is taking us a little longer to process them and we do have to work with those customers that have made those larger claims to help us to understand the gravity of the claim.
“So we are asking for more information and those sorts of things but in the whole we’re very comfortable with the way in which we are handling the claims and the number of claims that are being processed.
“Claims are open for three years. We don’t want to leave anybody or miss anybody. If they need 12 months to make an assessment as to their level of loss then we want them to take 12 months.”
Mr Mundy said the outage had made it clear to businesses that they needed wireless back, if the worst was to happen again for whatever reason.
“The businesses and the community are so totally reliant on their connectivity,” he said.
“Whether it be on EFTPOS, Facebook or the internet, whatever it is, we are just dependent on it.”
Mr Mundy said when the internal report was released next week Telstra would act on recommendations.
“It is the first time in 80 years an exchange fire of this nature has occurred,” he said.
“It is fair to say that as a part of the restoration effort that we did a lot of things for the first time because we didn’t have a template. We hadn’t been in this space before.”