Telstra outage leads to 000 disruption

07 May 2018

Australian incumbent operator Telstra has repaired a damaged fiber cable that led to intermittent disruptions to the nation's 000 emergency call service in half of the nation's states.

The operator said a preliminary investigation indicates that the disruption was caused by fire damage consistent with a lightning strike.

The disruption commenced at around 2am on Friday, and persisted until impacted routers were restored at about 4:50am, after which services progressively returned to normal. The cable was fixed at around 11am.

While most call traffic was diverted to alternative cable and equipment, an issue occurred with the routing of some traffic which resulted in intermittent disruptions to 000 calls.

The disruption impacted some callers in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia. The Queensland Ambulance Service has identified 11 emergency calls that experienced delays calling through its operations centers as a result of the disruption, while a NSW Ambulance commissioner complained that the operator did not inform it about the outage.

Other representatives of emergency services departments have stated that it is difficult to ascertain how many emergency calls failed to get through, or if anybody died or was harmed as a result of the outage.

The damage also reportedly caused disruptions to other telephony services as well as EFTPOS machines and street lighting.

The federal government has revealed it will conduct a formal investigation into the outage, including the cause of the fire and the failure of Telstra's contingency plans. The operator may face significant financial penalties as a result of the investigation.

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