This is what I’m hearing from young mothers. From people who rely utterly on their mobile phone and who don’t have a landline. Who don’t have a lot of discretionary income, so texting is the primary form of communication. Who need a working phone to be able to get through their day, juggling children, a job and other family responsibilities.
Telecom’s XT network is a critical piece of new infrastructure. It’s new, it’s supposed to be the future and it should work.
There is now a growing clamour for answers about the XT network and about the 111 service, which is part of what’s called the plain old telephone service (or POTs). In other words, POTs should never break down. It’s part of that institution called the NZ Post Office which Telecom emerged from when it was privatised.
Telecom is now hastily trying to increase the capacity and resilience of the new network which strongly suggests that the new network went live without enough capacity and the degree of resilience required.
The number of outages bears this out and serious questions must be asked of Telecom as to what testing procedures were undertaken before it went to market; whether it was properly funded and whether it has sufficient resilience to give the public confidence in this important piece of new infrastructure.
On TVNZ’s Q&A this morning, Telecom CEO Paul Reynolds kept repeating how angry he was at the outages in the network. I don’t think being angry cuts the mustard any more. He needs to take responsibility and inform the public.
At what point is he going to reveal just what lies behind the network’s fragility? And what does the government have to say on behalf of the New Zealand public? Steven Joyce continues to duck and weave. At some point the public pressure will overtake his reluctance to get involved. I wonder what MED are thinking and what their advice to him is right now?
You are not allowed to put a new car into the marketplace without a rigorous set of tests and without it meeting a set of required safety standards. Nor should you be able to flick the switch on a new mobile network without appropriate testing.
Telecom’s got some serious explaining to do. I think the Government should be demanding answers. I worry that consumers like the mum who told me she just wants a network that works doesn’t seem to have a voice.
Who is representing consumers here? Seems like a big gaping hole to me.