Just twelve hours after the company’s second national outage in six weeks, Telstra CEO Andy Penn this morning addressed the Media to apologise for the service interruption.

Speaking at the Melbourne headquarters of Telstra, Andy Penn apologised for the outage saying “we take great pride in our network”.

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When questioned about the scale of the outage, Mr Penn confirmed EFTM’s understanding that half the network was affected saying “of our 16 million customers around 8 million were affected”.

The official word from Telstra is that the issue started at around 6pm and over a period of time from 7.30pm the network and customers services were progressively restored from 7.30pm

A Telstra Spokesperson said “We sincerely apologise to our customers for the inconvenience we have caused again. As a way of saying we’re sorry we’ll be providing a free data day for all of our mobile customers on Sunday 3 April.

“We had a problem that triggered a significant number of customers to be disconnected from the network. Reconnecting them to the network caused congestion. We had a connection problem overseas impacting international roaming customers which then had a flow-on effect domestically.

“The issue is not related to the outage that occurred in early February. The problem that repeated itself was in people reconnecting to the network.

“Following the last event we commenced a major process and engineering review of the network, which includes global network experts, to understand how it occurred, and while the two incidents are not related, we will add the lessons learned from this incident to that review.”

This statement and CEO Andy Penn’s comments to media this morning don’t begin to address the deep issue that must see changes to restore faith in the network. As I wrote last night:

  • Why is their network no longer as resilient as their reputation has suggested?
  • Why is there no redundancy in the network to work around such failures?
  • Why on earth does it take so long to restore services in the network?

This morning I asked Andy Penn what was the original issue was yesterday. He said “there was an issue with an undersea cable link that affected International Roaming customers” and that it was the restoration of those services which caused the wider outage.

Millions of people today would be right to ask how an international connectivity issue could cause such widespread issues.

Time will tell what Telstra’s review shows and how the prevent such incidents in the future.

Telstra mobile customers will be able to use data on the network for free on Sunday April 3 – the same compensation offered on February 14th for the previous outage.

As a bonus, that Sunday is also the end of Daylight Savings in some states, so for those customers there are 25 hours of Free Data. Get downloading.