Telstra collapse tramples Kilkivan's Great Horse Ride
A MASSIVE Telstra network failure which wiped out electronic payments at the Kilkivan Great Horse Ride has left organisers fuming, and prompted calls for the company to "step up" and help.
The company's 3G network collapsed on Friday, on the eve of the horse ride, cutting mobile eftpos services and severely restricting phone coverage.
Many stallholders and the events bar were left unable to accept payments during the outage. Telstra service crews scrambled to help, but coverage was not fully restored to the area until after 6.30pm on Sunday.
Kilkivan Great Horse Ride Association treasurer Robert Thompson said the failure was a blow from left field.
"We thought the biggest challenge was going to be the weather," Mr Thompson said.
"Never in our wildest dreams did we think that telecommunications would break down our event."
Mr Thompson said he was sympathetic to the ride's sponsors who had put a great deal of effort into making it a success.
"They were affected very badly," he said.
KGHRA secretary Rosie Fitzgerald said the crash was a huge blow to the town's biggest annual event.
"We were devastated when we found there was a problem," Ms Fitzgerald said.
"It was a dreadful thing."
A large part of the promotional focus had been on ATM services at the site, she said, so many guests did not bring cash with them.
Gympie Region Councillor Hilary Smerdon suggested Telstra should step up as a sponsor next year to help fix the damage done.
And he wouldn't be surprised if other options were under exploration, he said.
"I wouldn't blame them (the KGHRA) if they approached Telstra for compensation."
"It was the last thing they needed.
"It made it almost impossible for that event to make the money it should have."
According to a Telstra spokeswoman who spoke with The Gympie Times during the outage, the problem was caused by a hardware fault.
A replacement piece had to be sourced from Bundaberg.
While the 4G and landlines were unaffected by the outage.
When the telco company was contacted, Telstra Area General Manager May Boisen said the hardware issue that disrupted 3G services in Kilkivan was rectified on Sunday.
"We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience this caused and assure them we worked as quickly as possible to identify the issue and restore their services."