UPDATED: Telstra Says “Sorry” For Third Big Outage In 30 Days
Telstra who took a week to fix BigPond broadband problems over Xmas then had two major mobile outages back to back, is again having to manage a national closedown of their network, which they constantly claim is the “Most reliable in Australia”.
UPDATE: Telstra chief executive Andy Penn has been forced to hand out another day of free data and mobile services after another major outage that affected more than eight million customers.
Speaking at the company’s headquarters in Melbourne on Friday morning, Mr Penn apologised and blamed a system error for the outage.
“At about 6pm last night a lot of our customers were disconnected due to an issue,” he said. “It was the attempt to reconnect customers at the same time that caused the congestion.”
Mr Penn said he was bringing international experts to Australia to conduct a deep review of Telstra’s network and services.
“I’m sincerely sorry to all of our customers,” he said. “At a personal level I’m deeply disappointed and I want to apologise to all of my customers.
“It affected around 50 per cent of the calls and we have about [16.7 million] customers on our network so can roughly approximate around 8 million customers across that time.”
Users were unable to make calls or access the internet from their phones for around 4 hours during the evening commute period on Thursday night.
Mr Penn said the domestic mobile services were caused by a problem in Telstra’s international undersea cable.
The outage that hit at about 6.00 pm as millions of people were heading home meant that navigation systems were lost, consumers were unable to make calls and millions were unable to get access to the Internet using a Telstra dongle.
I was in Melbourne doing a presentation when the dongle on my PC failed.
Later as I drove back to Melbourne people were pulling over to the side of the road as they tried to work out why their mobile network had crashed.
This is the third time over 30 days that Telstra has had to respond to a major network crash.
A Telstra spokesperson said, “We are aware of an issue affecting some of our mobile customers who are having difficulty making and receiving calls, and using data.
“We are looking into the cause of this issue and apologise for the inconvenience this is causing. We are doing everything we can to restore services as soon as possible.”
It’s understood around half the company’s mobile network was affected.
The outage that lasted over two hours in Melbourne saw tens of thousands log onto social media to complain as soon as the network came back up.
Telstra blamed their last big outage on an “embarrassing human error” after a core node was knocked offline.
The telco, which has about 16.7 million mobile users, later offered a ‘free data day’ the following Sunday as an apology for the interruptions.
When the last outage hit Teresa Corbin, chief executive of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, said given the size of Telstra’s network, a large number of customers would have been affected.
“A short outage may not be catastrophic but it has a significant impact on business,” she said.
She added that the scale of disruption not only highlighted how important connectivity had become to users, but also the need to look at telecommunications as an essential service.
“There’s a need to consider whether we need a national roaming strategy that provides basic connectivity in an emergency,” she said.