Lightning strike downs internet

A LIGHTNING strike plunged Yamba internet users into a cyber blackout for two days that left many businesses redundant.

The internet went off for 490 Yamba broadband users from Monday night until just before midday on Wednesday. Business owners said the internet blackout cost them money, time and customers.

Ken Adams from NRMA, said without the internet he could not pay his staff or confirm breakdown call outs.

"We can't check membership details for people broken down who require assistance," Mr Adams said.

"We've been going out anyway because we've got to do the right thing by our customers but we cannot be sure if they really are members or not."

Yamba Real Estate agent Mike Macqueen made his thoughts very clear.

"I'm really pissed off," Mr Macqueen said.

"People will be emailing us and we're not responding."

Mr Macqueen said the fact that his company could have been seen to be ignoring customer queries online was not good for business.

He said the internet outage was forcing them to remember how they used to do business in the old days.

"Normally our pays go through tomorrow so if we can't access the internet we're going to have to have to cash a cheque and pay everyone cash," he said.

Yamba's internet cafe Yam Com was offline and empty for two days.

"School holidays and wet weather means we'd normally be full," owner Rob Becker said.

"But we have no one on our computers and it's costing us money."

Mr Becker said several potential customers came in to buy new modems because their service providers had told them the internet problem might have been a result of their faulty modems.

Mr Becker said these people had been misinformed and he told them all they had to do was wait for Telstra to fix the problem.

It wasn't all bad news with some in the region using broadband access.

A bank, a doctor's surgery, the post office, and a number of houses in Yamba and Angourie were just some cases The Daily Examiner discovered that remained online. Telstra Country Wide Far North Coast general manager Sue Passmore said the internet outage was caused by a lightning strike that affected a card in the Yamba internet exchange box.

She said Telstra technicians fixed the problem on Tuesday night, but the new card was faulty and another had to be installed on Wednesday.

Ms Passmore said Telstra successfully restored ADSL to all users at on Wednesday morning.

With their internet restored, Yamba businesses once again took advantage of 21st century technology and logged on.

"Oh such joy, we can get on with business now," Mr Macqueen said.

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