BOB Beresford and his team of Telstra technicians had the biggest bragging rights at yesterday’s official re-opening of the Warrnambool exchange.
They rebuilt a 54-year-old telecommunications hub after it was crippled by fire last November.
It is now being hailed as the most modern regional exchange in the nation.
Skilled technicians from as far as Tasmania, Adelaide and Sydney dived into the blackened exchange in acrid conditions to work around the clock to restore services to more than 100,000 customers.
“It was a massive effort,” said Mr Beresford, Telstra’s director of service delivery for the south-west region.
“The commitment, sacrifice and amount of work involved was amazing. There’s an enormous sense of pride in what we achieved.
“We had 150 technicians who toiled in difficult conditions 24/7 for four weeks and subsequently smaller teams continued for six months.
“I’ve been working 33 years in field services and this is the biggest single Telstra exchange outage with such a high number of customers affected for such a long period of time. What we have installed is the best available equipment for the copper network.
“It can be upgraded to meet future changes in technology.”
Mr Beresford said the team appreciated support and acceptance by the local community in difficult times.
“There were very few cross words,” he said.
“A lot of the technicians have since come back for holidays or are planning holidays here.”