The Queensland floods have caused extensive damage to Australia's telecom infrastructure, with Telstra alone reportedly facing a repair bill of up to A$50 million ($49.9m).
While Telstra has said it will not be able to assess the full cost of repairs until flood waters finally recede, Merrill Lynch has estimated that it could cost up to A$50 million based on the repair costs of the Victorian bushfires of 2009, the Australianreported.
Weeks of flooding in Queensland took a severe turn for the worse this week, causing service disruptions for Australian operators and ISPs.
Some areas of Queensland may be without telecom services for up to 18 days, according to theAustralian.
Both Telstra and Optus estimate it could take three months to completely fix and replace all the affected equipment.
Telstra revealed yesterday that early restoration work was being hindered by the fact that 262 of the operators' exchanges were in areas that remained “red zones,” inaccessible to engineers. Telstra said its workers are primed to move in whenever it becomes safe to do so.