A 99-year-old woman has had her lifeline to the outside world restored, after Telstra and NBN Co finally connected Mary Marshall’s landline.
Marshall’s family contacted A Current Affair after trying unsuccessfully for three months to get the great-great-grandmothers landline connected.
“It’s so stressful, I think I’ve spent probably 50 hours on hold to Telstra,” Daughter Lyn Poulter said.
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Marshall lives in a nursing home, and used to get by using an old mobile phone.
But when it finally died, the new mobile phones on the market were too modern for Marshall to operate.
So her family decided to install a landline, to keep her connected to her nine children, 36 grandchildren, 72 great-grandchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren.
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“We thought that would be easy for her to cope with … she doesn’t have to charge it, she doesn’t have to turn it on or off,” Poulter said.
But getting the landline installed was easier said than done.
The first installation appointment Telstra organized with NBN co, three months ago, was canceled on the day due to lack of staff.
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The next appointment, the nursing home went into COVID-19 lockdown.
“Then we made another appointment and they guaranteed me because it had been so long and it was her only lifeline, that it would be done and it got cancelled,” a frustrated Poulter said.
“Then it got cancelled, again and again.”
Telstra then re-booked NBN Co again, but not until July, leaving Marshall with no way to contact her family.
The worst part is, three other residents in the same nursing home have had their phones connected over the past few weeks.
“Each time that they’ve gone there to connect those phones, the office people have said, ‘Oh you’re here to do Mary’s phone’ and they’ve said, ‘Oh no, we can only do the phone, we’ re here to connect’,” Poulter said.
Telstra offered to send Marshall a mobile phone to use in the interim, but at 99 she doesn’t know how to operate it.
Within hours of A Current Affair contacting Telstra and NBN Co, technicians from both companies went out today and finally connected Marshall to the outside world.
Statement by a Telstra spokesperson
An nbn co technician had to visit Mary’s new home before we could connect her service. Unfortunately, nbn co had to reschedule the visit a number of times.
We know this has been frustrating and we have been working with Mary, her family and nbn co to rearrange a technician as quickly as possible. We also provided an interim phone service so Mary can stay in touch with loved ones during this time.
We’ll have Mary connected soon, following an nbn technician attending today.
Statement by an NBN spokesperson
A technician has attended Mary’s home this morning to connect her to the nbn® network and ensure it was working and have spoken with her family. We are sorry for the delay.
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