No 90th birthday calls for Walter as phone lines go cold
WHEN Walter Townson celebrates a birthday, the gift he looks forward to most is fielding calls from friends and family far and wide.
But when he reaches the milestone age of 90 on Thursday, there will be no well wishing messages or calls coming through on his mobile.
Mr Townson is one of a number of residents in the Hay Point, McEwens Beach, Chelona and surrounding areas who have been without Telstra mobile service for more than a week.
Speaking with The Daily Mercury on his son's landline, Mr Townson said the lengthy outage was affecting his quality of life.
"I have been very sick, I have been in and out of hospital, and I can't even ring anyone," he said. "I live by myself in a caravan on my son's property and I have a mobile, I haven't got a landline. I can't ring anywhere, it has been out for a week. They reckon lightning might have hit the cell tower but a week is a pretty long time to wait."
Mr Townson, who has been a Telstra customer for 40 years, is trying to organise a birthday party for Friday but said without his phone it was "hopeless".
"I have about 60 people I want to call to invite them to the party," he said.
"I originally come from up north and have a few relations that might have been coming down for my birth- day but they can't ring me.
"I have a lot of people trying to ring me - well I hope so. I have never been 90 before so I wouldn't know how many calls to expect.
"I just hope they get the bloody thing fixed."
Mr Townson's grandson Steven Townson said he would use his landline to invite people to the party but Walter relied on his mobile to communicate.
"It's pretty poor they haven't been able to get it back going yet. Grandad is pretty irate over it, he likes getting on the phone and ringing his friends," Steven said.
"I haven't got a business myself but I know people who do and would be impacted by this. It is the talking point of the community at the moment."
Telstra area general manager Rachel Cliffe apologised for the inconvenience of the outage.
"The local mobile base station at Hay Point has a number sectors and the vast majority are working as normal," Ms Cliffe said.
"We are aware of an issue with one sector, which is causing disruption to a small number of customers in the area, and we are working as quickly as possible to rectify this."