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One​Seniors customers disconnected following telco collapse

A number of senior Australians have been left without telephone and internet connections following the collapse of telecommunications company OneSeniors.

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Telephone Travel image by Jonathan Henderson, CC BY-ND 2.0

AsiaPAC Communications Group -- parent company to telco providers OneSeniors, OneTelecom and iBoss International -- entered voluntary administration at the start of May; all three providers (and their customers) were subsequently acquired by Australian company Vocus Communications.

Following the acquisition, Vocus announced it was working to restore services and "undertaking the difficult task of unravelling the complex supply arrangements and corporate structure," of the collapsed companies. However, Vocus said in a statement that although it was "working hard to expedite the process, there is no guarantee all services can be reactivated".

The fears of OneSeniors and One Telecom customers were later realised when Vocus confirmed that it was "not possible to get the user services back online".

"Vocus has been working around the clock since the acquisition was announced yesterday to restore the services of affected customers," the company said in a statement. "It is with great regret we have to announce that we have been unsuccessful.

"Rather than protract the uncertainty any further, regrettably we have to confirm that existing OneSeniors and OneTelecom services will not be reconnected. The only way for these services to be activated is for each customer to sign up for a new service."

OneSeniors' Facebook page has played host to a raft of complaints from customers in response to comments "published on behalf of Vocus communications", including complaints about a lack of communication from Vocus and the difficulty involved in switching to a new provider.

Others raised concerns about elderly relatives being left without phone and internet access, as well as Vocus' use of Facebook and email as its primary means of communication, despite many customers not having a working internet connection.

Speaking about the collapse, Vocus CEO James Spenceley said the company understood that customers were being left in a "difficult" position without access to telephone and internet services.

"The disconnection of tens of thousands of retail customers...is a blight on an otherwise strong and competitive telecommunications industry," said Spenceley.

"The decision to place these companies into administration arises from court proceedings to resolve personal disputes between the owners and has resulted in a worst case outcome for their customers, especially the OneSeniors customers."