NORTH Bundaberg residents have threatened to resort back to primitive methods of communication in a protest against internet and landline problems in the area.
Retired pensioner Patrick Denham fashioned a crude tin can telephone in the back yard of his Kookaburra St home yesterday for a quick catch-up with his neighbours.
Mr Denham and an estimated 200 residents in North Bundaberg have been without landline telephone and with limited broadband internet for the past nine days.
"In these modern times, it seems ridiculous to not be able to use our phone for this long," he said.
"I'd be tempted to try out smoke signals, but this rain we've been getting lately might spoil it."
Mr Denham said the phone outage had been a major inconvenience and was also a concern because residents had not been able to call 000.
"There's a great deal of elderly people in this area and many don't use mobile phones," he said.
"In the event of an emergency, it's not like they can run next door to use their neighbour's, because their phone's out as well."
Mr Denham said Telstra had not notified residents of the reason of the outage, and as to how long until phone and internet service would be returned.
"There are hundreds of homes without phones and they haven't told us a single thing," he said.
"It took a week of phone calls to them for me to get anywhere."
Telstra Country Wide Central Queensland area general manager Doug McClure said damage to an underwater cable running across the Burnett River had necessitated a major upgrade.
The repair work originally affected about 900 households and businesses across Bundaberg, with more customers brought back on line as the work progressed.
Mr McClure said Telstra staff had addressed the matter as quickly as possible and apologised for any inconvenience.
"This has been quite an extensive repair job," he said.
He said a Telstra representative spoke on local radio stations last week notifying residents of the repairs, and that all households should have full phone and internet access by this morning.