Six weeks with no internet gave Houstons a problem

Sally Houston and her daughters Pieta, 10, and Nadia, 12, are upset their internet service provider Spark hasn't fixed ...
Mytchall Bransgrove

Sally Houston and her daughters Pieta, 10, and Nadia, 12, are upset their internet service provider Spark hasn't fixed their internet for six weeks.

For the last six weeks, the Houstons of Geraldine have had a big problem; no internet at home.

That was despite teacher Sally Houston engaging in regular correspondence with her provider, Spark, from January 4, when they returned from holiday to discover that the internet, which had been off since December 26, was still down.

Finally, out of frustration, she contacted Stuff about her predicament on Saturday morning.

On Sunday night she was contacted by Spark, saying someone would be looking into the problem, and on Monday morning a contractor from Chorus knocked on her door and told her the internet was back on.

"The kids are really happy", said Houston, who said the problem had cost them hundreds of dollars and plenty of frustration.

"All the simple things that you take for granted, now you can't do them anymore."

She doesn't know how long she spent on the phone trying to sort out the problem.

"I do not have hours to spend on the phone while I get nowhere."

Spark spokeswoman Michelle Baguley was apologetic.

"Our staff have been liaising with Chorus, who are responsible for the cabling infrastructure, in order to get to the root cause of the issue," she said. "However, the communication Sally has received from Spark in order to explain the complexity of the issue and the various repair requirements has fallen well short of what we would expect."

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Chorus spokesman Nathan Beaumont said its first priority had been to fix the problem: "Now that this has happened we will investigate why it took so long to get this sorted. Chorus would like to apologise to the customer concerned for the inconvenience the fault caused," 

Internet problems were not new to the family. For two to three months last year it was "on and off", Houston said. 

"I had to drive my children into Geraldine and park outside a phone box so they could do their homework."

The lack of internet has affected Houston's work.

"There's a lot of communication; everyone has got their own email address. Teachers do lots of stuff on email and share it with the kids, and they get to mark it at home," she said.

"It just doesn't work if things aren't running properly."

She missed out on extra work at her school when she received an email two days late as she was forced to rely on her phone's internet.

"The email that was sent on Thursday night, to say that the expressions of interest had to be in by Friday 3pm, I didn't get that email until [Saturday] morning," Houston said.

Baguley said Spark had been "working behind the scenes to move this issue forward; however, owing to the number of contractors involved in the repair, it's caused the process to be far slower than we would like - and we can fully understand Sally's frustration at the lack of information".

"Spark wishes to apologise to Sally, and will ensure that we refund her for any loss of service and take the necessary steps to put this situation right by her."

 - Stuff

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