ROLLOUT: Gladstone pensioner Ken Bauer believes the new technology is a backwards step for the elderly.
ROLLOUT: Gladstone pensioner Ken Bauer believes the new technology is a backwards step for the elderly. Contributed

No phone access in blackouts raises serious concerns

AS THE National Broadband Network continues its rollout in the Gladstone region, one resident believes the new technology is a backwards step for the elderly.

Ken Bauer, 86, recently received a letter from NBN Co Limited regarding an inspection notice needed for his phone line.

The letter was a generic one providing important information for customers before they make the switch to the high-speed service.

However, there was one section in the letter which raised the eyebrows of the West Gladstone pensioner - what happens to phone connectivity in the event of a power blackout.

"Equipment connected over the NBN access network will not work during a power blackout," the letter reads.

"Consider having an alternative form of communication handy (such as a charged mobile phone)."

 

Equipment connected over the NBN access network will not work during a power blackout.
Equipment connected over the NBN access network will not work during a power blackout. Contributed

Mr Bauer doesn't own a mobile phone and at his age isn't interested in buying one, but holds fears for himself, his wife and other elderly people in similar circumstances.

"To me it's a backwards step. Pensioners that are on a battling budget, I can't see them affording buying mobile phones just so they've got connection," Mr Bauer said.

"I've had a couple of heart turns and my phone is pretty vital to me."

 

NO HELP IN CRISIS: Ken Bauer, 86, doesn't want the NBN.
NO HELP IN CRISIS: Ken Bauer, 86, doesn't want the NBN. Matt Taylor GLA220218NBN

The whole saga has turned Mr Bauer off the idea of signing up to the NBN.

"No, after reading that (letter) I don't want the NBN.

"Most pensioners would probably be in the same situation."

A local NBN spokesperson said it was important people were aware that equipment connected over the NBN access network will not work during a power outage.

"Preparation is key and NBN recommends that residents consider having an alternate form of communication handy such as a charged mobile phone, if there is a power outage of any sort," the spokesperson said.

"For people that have a medical alarm, or care for someone who does, it is important to register this with NBN as it helps us to identify households where support may be needed when they are making the switch to an NBN-powered plan."

People can register for free via the NBN website or by calling 1800 227 300.

Further information on what happens to the NBN in a power blackout can be found here.



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