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Telstra's latest outage in Australia caused by 'third-party' cable damage

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Operator says ‘small outage’ while Aussieoutages.com flares across the Sunshine Coast

A new outage has hit Telstra’s Australian service, days after the resignation of the company’s chief information officer.

Networks were down in most major cities across the country, impacting fixed line and mobile services in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart, accordng to outage tracking website Aussieoutages.com.

The network operator, however, rejected claims that the downtime caused widespread issues. It called the event a ‘small outage’, affecting services in Buderim, Nambour Wurtulla and Sippy Downs, but said it was unable to provide details on the specific number of customers affected.

“We share our customers’ disappointment when factors beyond our control cause disruption like this,” Telstra said in a statement.

Telstra

Telstra has experienced seven serious outages since February

Causes of failure

The outage was caused by a damaged fiber optic cable, itself the result of over-zealous boring work being carried out by a third-party company. Telstra technicians worked overnight to repair the damage and services were restored in the early morning, the company said.

ADSL customers were told they should expect disrupted Internet service from 3pm AEST on Thursday to 10am on Friday. 3G and 4G mobile customers and Wi-Fi customers were told to expect similar difficulties.

Meanwhile, ChannelNews reported on Friday that users of Australian ISP BigPond (a product of Telstra) as far across the country as Western Australia were unable to access their e-mail or send messages, with some losing Internet access for many hours.

The issues were resolved later in the day, Telstra confirmed.

Outages, outages everywhere

Telstra has suffered seven serious outages in the past six months, including one in February that saw more than half of its mobile customer base of 16 million without service.

In March, about 8 million customers lost service as the result of a routing issue between Telstra and AWS. It followed an outage that had occurred the previous night.

On 30 June an outage knocked down the company’s consumer and commercial services, including Jetstar airline’s check-in kiosks and home nursing and hospital services in Victoria.

In July, Consumer advocacy group Choice said Telstra’s customers should be allowed to cancel their contract with the service provider if they have been affected by the outages.

Last month Telstra launched a new branding campaign in an effort to recover its image as a provider of reliable, high-quality communications services.

It will also invest AUD$250 million ($190 million) in its networks over the next year, its chief executive, Andy Penn, said in June. However, he also said that the number of Telstra outages “hasn’t actually increased”, only that the popularity of its services had grown.

Over and out

Erez Yarkoni’s resignation from the CIO position he held for little more than a year comes after months of network outages that affected cities across Australia.

The Register, which first reported his departure, said it understood Yarkoni made the decision to leave in order to move back to America, where he has done much of his work and where he has family commitments.

Earlier in 2016 Telstra parted company with Vish Nandlall, its CTO, and last week Kate McKenzie retired from her role as chief operations officer.

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