Australia Faces Massive Telecom Outage, 10 Million Users Unable to Use Internet, Phone Services

The Australian government said mobile phones, landlines and broadband internet had been impacted.

Australia’s Communication Workers Union said the outage was an “absolute disgrace”, suggesting it was linked to recent job losses at the company.

Sydney: Australia on Wednesday faced a massive telecom outage and more than 10 million users were not able to use Internet and phone services. Optus in a statement said it was scrambling to pinpoint and fix the outages, which crashed electronic payment systems and disrupted phone lines for emergency services.

Company chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said there was ‘no indication’ the outage was the result of hacking or a cyberattack, AFP reported.

“Our team is still pursuing every possible avenue. We had a number of hypotheses and each one so far that we’ve tested and put in place new actions for has not resolved the fundamental issue,” she said.

“When we have identified a root cause and a time for restoration, we’ll be updating everybody as soon as we can,” she added.

In the meantime, the Australian government said mobile phones, landlines and broadband internet had been impacted.

Australia’s second-largest telecoms firm Optus said it identified the outage at around 4:05 am local time. However, the widespread issues were still plaguing the network more than seven hours later.

Because of the telecom outage, dozens of hospitals were unable to receive phone calls, and landline phones on the Optus network could not ring emergency services.

Apart from this, the poisons hotline in the state of New South Wales also said it was impacted. And there was rush-hour chaos in the city of Melbourne after a “communications outage” disrupted train services.

“Our teams are working to restore services as soon as possible,” an Optus company spokesperson said in an earlier statement.

Australian Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said the Optus outage had been caused by a “deep fault” in a “fundamental” part of the company’s network.

“What we do know is that this is a deep fault. It has occurred deep within the network,” she told reporters.

In the meantime, Australia’s Communication Workers Union said the outage was an “absolute disgrace”, suggesting it was linked to recent job losses at the company.

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology researcher Mark Gregory told AFP that the Wednesday’s disruptions showed there were fundamental problems in Australia’s communications networks.

“Single point of failure related outages have occurred too often over the past decades and it is time that the government steps in to force the telecommunications industry to build redundancy into the networks and systems,” the institute said.



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