1493350413456 - Bluff businesses struggle with laggy internet and phone service

Bluff businesses struggle with laggy internet and phone service

A Bluff couple are fed up with unreliable internet and say it’s making it hard to run their businesses.

Oyster Cove Restaurant manager Ross Jackson said his provider, Spark, was “brilliant at asking for money, but not so good at providing a quality service”.

On Thursday the businesses experienced the usual drop out of phone lines and internet, he said.

A Spark spokeswoman Lydia Tebbutt said the company was aware of some infrastructural issues on Chorus’ copper network, which were unfortunately affecting the quality of broadband and voice services for Bluff customers on Thursday.

“The cable that connects people in this area, known as the ‘bluff H cable’ has been damaged. Chorus have been investigating since midday today [Thursday], and while it’s not clear to us at this stage what has caused damage to the cable, customers connected to it may be experiencing loss of internet and static or crackly phone services,” she said.

But Jackson said he and his wife Lynda Jackson, who is the manager at Lands End Boutique Hotel next door to the restaurant, had experienced connection loss at both businesses for several years.

The pair have been running their businesses at the popular tourist spot, Stirling Point, since 2014, and the internet and phone service falling out had been an ongoing problem the whole time, Jackson said.

“It inhibits us doing business,” he said.

“With no phone and internet we can’t run our businesses.”

However, Chorus stakeholder communications manager Nathan Beaumont said there had been “very few” faults reported in the area during the past three years.

The network fault in the area on Thursday was expected to be fixed on Friday afternoon, Beaumont said.

The faults that had been reported were mainly due to third party fibre cuts, including roading crews cutting through the network when carrying out roadworks, he said.

“We carry out regular monitoring of the network in the area to ensure it is operating as it should.”

With everything run by internet, it meant people were unable to make payments through eftpos on several occasions, he said.

The service could drop out for five minutes or 30 minutes. It was “random”, he said.

“It happens too regularly.”

During the three years the couple had run their businesses a Spark worker had been sent to the site once, Jackson said.

After the visit, several problems were found and repaired, which helped for a short time before it dropped out again, he said.

“I don’t want their [Spark’s] problem to become my problem.”

But Tebbutt said the problems were not necessarily Spark’s fault, and that Chorus dealt with maintaining the copper network.

“A lot of people think that Chorus and Spark are the same company.

“Issues on the copper network occur from time to time and when they do, we escalate the fault to Chorus and rely on the information and updates Chorus pass back to us so that we can update our customers. We understand that issues like this can be incredibly frustrating for customers and we’ll be continuing to liaise with Chorus as they investigate and fix the issue,” she said.

Customers in Bluff notified Spark of a similar experience in May 2016, but since then Tebbutt was unaware of anything been reported since then.

Bluff community board chairman Raymond Fife said he was unaware of the problem and had received no complaints.

The board was looking at upgrades to the service in the town, Fife said.

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