Bush ISP stoush disconnects NSW farmers

Farmers cop drought, poor broadband, now no Internet

Hundreds of regional Australians have suffered another broadband blow after Internet connections were severed without notice for a week following a dispute between satellite provider IPSTAR and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) Lisp and GoBush.

Peak Hill farmer Ray Unger, who has a $50 Internet connection with GoBush, told Computerworld the company had not informed him of the outage and had not provided details of when the connections were expected to be reactivated.

“Without my Internet connection I'm left in the dark — I don't know whether to cut hay or start harvest,” Unger said.

“I tried to call the Commonwealth Ombudsman and all they could say is that they were too busy to take my call.”

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman office could not say whether it had received complaints from affected users, and urged customers to contact the agency.

The companies, which provide Internet access across Central NSW, could not be reached by the time of publication.

Phone numbers provided on Lisp's Web site were reported as unavailable, except the service line for satellite customers which played a pre-recorded message informing customers of the disconnection. The GoBush Web site was offline.

“We regret to inform you that your service has been disconnected due to a dispute with our wholesale broadband supplier,” the Lisp message said.

The office of shadow minister for agriculture, forestry and fisheries and Federal Member for Calare, John Cobb has received phone calls from disgruntled customers “non-stop”.

Cobb said he has worked directly with IPSTAR to get customers reconnected after they were cut off last week.

“I have been working behind the scenes to get the problem resolved so satellite broadband customers continue to have a service,” Cobb said.

“I have had customers calling our Orange electorate office from across the region, including Cowra, Eugowra, Condobolin, Eumungerie, Parkes and Peak Hill.

“IPSTAR has acted and is working to connect disconnected users to its temporary Internet service.”

Customer support is only available via e-mail, and affected users must locate alternative Internet access to reconnect via an IPSTAR Web page.

IPSTAR has about 8000 satellite connections across Australia.

The company is owned by Thai company Shin Satellite.

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Darren Pauli

Computerworld
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