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Phone, internet services cut off for elderly after ONESeniors placed into administration

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Megan Gorrey and Natasha Boddy

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Hundreds of Canberra residents who are elderly or have a disability have been without phone and internet services for several days after over-55s telecommunications provider ONESeniors went into administration. 

OneTelecom, the company name for ONESeniors, was one of three companies placed into the hands of receivers on Friday night following a court battle.

In a statement on the ONESeniors Facebook page on Saturday night, the company said administrators had been appointed ''as a result of our supplier not being able to fulfil their obligations to supply services to ONEseniors''.

Liz Blackwell, of Braddon, relies on ONESeniors for phone and internet services.

She's signed up with Telstra but it could be another week before she'd be connected.

''I'm lucky to have a separate mobile with Telstra, but being in Braddon, I get no reception,'' Ms Blackwell said.

''I worry about not having a local phone connection because if I have a fall I can't contact anyone and being disabled, I can't get up.

''Being young, I'm reliant on my internet for communicating with my social network.

''So it's a bit lonely being cut off.''

Ms Blackwell said ONESeniors' communication with clients had been terrible. 

''It just isn't good enough to cut us off, a vulnerable group, without warning.

''A risk plan should have already been agreed when the firm started to have a backup plan.

''The worst feeling is being unable to contact people easily.''

Many other disgruntled customers have voiced their frustration on the Facebook page in recent days.

Many had posted comments and questions on behalf of their elderly parents.

One Canberra resident said her elderly mother was ''incredibly stressed out and feeling isolated''.

In a statement on Facebook yesterday, ONESeniors thanked clients for their patience but said they did not have any further information available. 

The company said staff at receivers Ferrier Hodgson were working ''to reach a quick resolution and to enable restoration of services''. 

''At this moment in time, we are not able to give you a time frame on when services might be restored, but we hope that a resolution will be reached quickly so that services can be restored as quickly as possible.''

Ferrier Hodgson partner Stewart McCallum expected to confirm a third party buyer to take care of the company's customer-related services late on Monday night .

Mr McCallum said he hoped the sale would result in the least amount of disturbance to customers as possible.

A Telstra spokeswoman said the company did not have any contracts in place for the supply of Telstra services with any of the three telecommunications companies which went into administration last week.

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