Telstra has entered a war of words with an Adelaide-based small business owner and his public relations representative regarding a telephone and Internet connection in the Adelaide Hills town of Woodside.
The business owner, Gordon Gay, claimed Telstra delayed the launch of his new Adelaide Hills Business Centre by failing to provide an ADSL2+ connection it promised, consequently losing the business optimistic revenue of about $30,000.
"Before Christmas, around December 3 or 5, I rang Telstra to see that ADSL2+ is available because there have been rumours that Telstra services in this area have been poor," Kay told ARN. "They did a check and came back to say there was ample capability and no problem, and when the building was ready, they'd get it done in a week -- that's been far from the truth."
According to Kay, the $600,000 business centre was supposed to be connected to a telephone line and subsequently to ADSL2+ in early June, a week after renovations to the building which it occupies were complete.
Kay alleges neither timeframe was upheld, and that Telstra only made the connections once he voiced the matter to ABC Radio on July 8 and the wider press on July 9 via John Harris, managing director of Impress Media, an Adelaide-based PR firm.
Kay said his phones became active shortly after a press release was issued to Impress Media's contacts. An ADSL Internet connection followed in the early afternoon of the same day, rather than the ADSL2+ connection which he said he was promised.
According to Speetest.net results quoted by Kay, the business centre is receiving download rates of 6.5 megabits per second (Mbps), and upload speeds of 0.35Mbps. It will use its ADSL to run a media production studio, interactive boardroom, and a Wi-Fi network for guests.
But while Kay has been vocal about his experience with the telecommunications provider, Telstra claimed these accusations were no more than public relations run amok.
A Telstra spokesperson alleged Harris intentionally attempted to create public discontent towards the telco giant during chief executive officer (CEO), David Thodey's visit to Adelaide on July 8.
The spokesperson said Harris' motive in choosing to publicise the matter was to boost the profile of iiNet, a Telstra competitor and client of Impress Media.
Harris said the press release was timed to coincide with Thodey's visit, but claimed the goal was to force Telstra's hand in resolving the issue for Kay, with whom he has had a professional relationship and friendship for 12 years.
Harris maintains his relationship with iiNet was in no way involved in the decision to go public.