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Network Outages During Bushfire Season Lasted 3.5 Days On Average

A report on network outages during the 2019-20 bushfire season – conducted by the Australian Communications and Media Authorities (ACMA), the Communications Alliance and the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) – has found that the average length of an outage incident was 3.5 days.

The ACMA’s ‘Impacts of the 2019-20 bushfires on the telecommunications network report’ found that 1,390 facilities were either directly impacted by fire damage or indirectly impacted by power outages or other factors. Of this figure, only 23% avoided outages, but in 26% of cases outages lasted less than four hours.

For 36% of outages carriers were able to implement temporary solutions. In roughly 60% of cases restoration efforts were hindered by access issues, such as fallen trees and debris.

At one point, there were 150 mobile stations off the air across NSW, VIC and SA, and more than 20,000 NBN services disrupted.

“While the telco industry acted quickly to restore services, these outages had a significant impact.  For example, when mobile coverage was lost in holiday towns on the NSW south coast, tourists could not contact friends or loved ones, and many were unable to buy food and fuel because EFTPOS terminals which use the mobile network were not working,” Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher said.

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