Australia launches investigation into major telecoms outage

SYDNEY: The Australian government on November 9 launched an investigation into a nationwide communications outage that paralyzed phone lines and cut internet access for 10 million customers.

For nearly 12 hours on Nov. 8, the unexplained glitch blocked electronic payments, disrupted phone lines used by emergency services and prevented people from accessing government systems.

Telecommunications company Optus, Australia’s second-largest phone provider with more than 10 million customers, repeatedly apologized for what it described as a “technical network outage” but did not offer a fuller explanation of the cause. root.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said a government review would now focus on understanding how the “particularly worrying” network failure occurred.

“It is critical that industry and governments take stock following large-scale outages, as no network is immune,” she said in a statement.

Optus and the government are at odds over the company’s handling of the crisis and whether affected businesses should receive payments after effectively losing a full day of trading.

While Optus executives have stopped talking about compensation, Rowland said it was “reasonable” for aggrieved customers to expect some form of compensation.

Rowland said a separate investigation, by the government’s communications regulator, would assess whether Optus failed to meet its obligations to pass on phone calls made to emergency services.

According to polling firm Roy Morgan, Optus was already one of Australia’s least trusted brands.

Just over a year ago, more than nine million Optus customers had their personal data stolen in a cyberattack.

Chief Executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said the company would “work even harder to retain the trust of our customers” in a statement released Thursday alongside the company’s semi-annual earnings.

A number of organizations and businesses were affected by the disruption, including the federal department of education, the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Landlines on the Optus network were unable to call emergency services and thousands of commuters were left stranded when rush hour trains briefly stopped. – AFP

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