OPTUS: “Sorry” Doesn’t Cut It Anymore, Australia Needs A Backup Plan & The Feds Need To Act
OPINION: Optus has just held Australia hostage, and “Sorry” doesn’t cut it anymore, with business crippled right across the Country, the Federal Government needs to act now, in the best interests of Australia.
Immediately we need a framework created that forces communication networks such as Optus, Telstra and Vodafone to have in place a backup or a switch over network which is funded and shared by all carriers so that basic communication can be restored when a major network outage happens.
It may cost hundreds of millions but this is the losses that businesses in Australia face when a mainstream operator such as Optus or Telstra go down.
Ironically Telstra took advantage of the situation by banging out emails as the drama unfolded, to millions of customers claiming ‘Ahead of the upcoming disaster season….. we are stepping up our support to help communities reconnect when a natural disaster occurs”.
Broadband and mobile networks are critical infrastructure if not the most critical in Australia and instead of trying to prioritise which apps people go to on streaming networks Communications Minister Michelle Rowland needs to work on protecting all Australians from having their businesses nobbled by a foreign owned communication network that has a history of problems.
The other alternative is that Australia at a Federal and State Government level move to adopt satellite communication. Rural Australians have already taken to Elan Musk’s SpaceX’s Starlink internet service, with more than 15,000 signing up in Australia.
There’s now two million subscribers to SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service, with CEO Elon Musk claiming the service has “achieved breakeven cash flow.”
SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell announced that Starlink “had a cash flow positive quarter” in 2022, and the overall SpaceX company reportedly turned a profit in the first quarter of 2023.
Amazon is also set to deliver a new service in Australia with all major handset makers including Apple and Samsung now working on Satellite capable handsets.
As the drama unfolded in Australia earlier today, Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin was playing low key.
One of her spokesperson said that “There is no indication the company’s massive outages are from a cyberattack” the CEO did not specified the cause.
This is the same CEO that initially was front and centre of the Optus hack attack that led to misery for tens of thousands of their customers.
Saying “Sorry” and we are investigation” does not cut it anymore.
What’s needed is a solution that is bullet proof in the interest of all Australian businesses.
While Minister Rowlands has urged Optus to be “transparent and timely” in updates to customers on the widespread outage, she needs to be spelling out the downside for carriers with multi million dollar fines an option.
Today business executives are adding up the cost of the damage Optus has caused for businesses from coffee shops to hospitals, to manufacturing operations that today rely on broadband services with many already calling for another class action against the Singapore owned business, who is already facing one over their hack attack.
“Optus needs to make sure they step up and communicate with people,” the Communications Minister said on Wednesday morning, shortly afterwards the Optus CEO was exposed to the media.
The Greens have called for a Senate inquiry into the Optus outage which the party hoping to have support across the political spectrum for an investigation into the outage.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young
“It is not good enough for this big company, Optus, to simply phone it in through a radio interview this morning, rather than fronting the customers, talking to the press and telling Australians what’s going on.”
Businesses have lost critical communications and as I write this piece Optus customers have little idea what is happening and when it will be fixed.
This morning I have had to cancel two business conference calls because other parties could not be reached.
This outage is a reputational disaster for Optus and more so chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin who only just survived the last disaster attack.
Home Affairs Minister Claire O’Neil and communications minister Michelle Rowland have told media that the latest problem for the carrier reveals that key lesson from its cyber attack hasn’t been learned by Optus communication management.
Rowlands claims that the “government stands ready to provide any assistance that is necessary”, including keeping consumers updated on their rights under regulations.
“Consumers will be making judgements about the quality of service that they receive in a competitive market…it is important that people have their services restored as soon as possible,” she said.
Optus had yet to tell government how many consumers were affected.
“It does underscore how essential telecommunications are to our everyday lives,” Ms Rowland said.
The National Broadband Network was “working correctly” with Optus who wholesale sell the NBN which is also working perfectly on Telstra and Vodafone network the only carrier with a problem.