Heart patient cut off from internet

Internet fault means man can't contact doctor

CATE BROUGHTON
Last updated 08:56 29/01/2014
Rik Tau
Cate Broughton
CUT OFF: Tuahiwi resident Rik Tau says he has been let down by Vodafone.

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A Ngai Tahu elder who suffers from emphysema and a weak heart has been unable to contact his doctor for 10 days due to a broken internet connection.

Local resident of Tuahiwi, Rakiihia (Rik) Tau, says Vodafone left him frustrated and vulnerable despite being aware of his condition.

Tau receives advice by email from his doctor about changes to his medication, as the doctor is often not available by phone.

"It's an impossible situation we find ourselves in. It's a service we pay for . . . and then when it breaks down no one is there to fix it up."

Tau's connection was cut on January 18, and on January 20 he went into hospital to have heart surgery. When he came home on January 21, the problem had not been fixed, so he notified Vodafone on January 22.

He has been told on several occasions the problem would be fixed the next day - but it had still not been resolved when the Northern Outlook went to print yesterday.

The connection to his home broke down three or four times a year, but only for several hours at a time,  Tau said.

A Vodafone spokesperson said it appeared the fault had been misdiagnosed by Vodafone's provider, lines company Chorus, and this led to the delays.

She said the fault was logged with Chorus on January 22.

"Our customer services team proactively kept Mr Tau informed of an ETR (estimated time of repair) on a daily basis - but I do appreciate that the delays were frustrating."

A Chorus spokesperson confirmed the misdiagnosis and said the problem was due to a cable fault.

"Currently a team of cable specialists are on site to excavate and fix the fault." She hoped to have an update for Tau "ASAP".

Tau said Chorus staff first came to his house on Monday, five days after he had notified Vodafone.

"I thought it's a waste of time even having a computer, because these people don't respond when it breaks down."

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