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Telstra plans to finish Warrnambool repairs by Friday

Telstra CEO David Thodey personally apologised for outages in south-west Victoria following a fire that took out part of the telco's Warrnambool exchange. Telstra is trying to wrap up repair work by Friday, he said

Repair work in the region has continued nearly two weeks after the fire hit on 22 November. One repair worker in Warrnambool said last week it was the worst "mess" he had seen in 38 years working for Telstra.

Thodey visited the site Tuesday to oversee repairs and announced a process for impacted business customers to receive compensation for the outage.

"I am very sorry this has occurred and I would like to thank our customers for their patience as the restoration process continues," Thodey wrote on the Telstra blog. "We are all focussed on getting things back to normal as soon as possible for the community of the south-west coast."

Telstra said Wednesday it had restored 95 per cent of land lines and replaced more than 50km of transmission cabling. Telstra has restored Internet service for 65 per cent of affected lines, it said.

"We now have over 120 people on site, who are working 24 hours a day, seven days per week to restore over 100,000 services across the area, and hopefully we will have it all finalised by Friday," Thodey said.

"In fact, it would normally take two years to build an exchange and our incredible team are aiming to have completely restored the exchange in two weeks."

Telstra is internally investigating what happened and will co-operate with an inquiry from the communications minister, Stephen Conroy, Thodey added.

Business customers seeking compensation can now download a claim form at the Telstra website. The local Telstra team is also hand-delivering forms to some businesses.

Claims exceeding $1000 will require supporting business documentation, Telstra said.

Telstra said it will credit affected fixed phone and ADSL broadband customers with one month's free line rental. Fixed line customers who used their mobile service in excess of their plan will not receive additional charges for standard usage, not including premium SMS and international calls, Telstra said.

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