Thursday, 17 March 2016 19:19

Telstra down again - curse of Elop? Hackers? NBNCo? Featured


Telstra is down again, with news reports saying it is across Australia. Who is to blame this time?

Is it the curse of Stephen Elop, former ‘burning platform’ man who wrecked Nokia, now applying his famed wrecking ball to Telstra?

Perhaps it is Kevin Russell, former Optus CEO - is he a sleeper agent for Singtel Optus?

Maybe it’s Chinese hackers, or Russian hackers. Perhaps it is nbn, the former NBNCo, trying to make Telstra look bad.

Heck, by that logic it could be Labor or Liberal party operatives, too - both sides have already screwed up Australia’s telecommunications networks, what’s a little more stuffing around?

Of course, as I am typing this article, connected to a phone on the Vodafone network, the streaming audio I was listening to on my Telstra-powered device sprang back into life. 

This happened for 30 seconds about 5 minutes after the outage first arose, so whether this is now a permanent fix, or a temporary one, is yet to be seen.

However, if the fix is now in, you can forget any free download days - Telstra has already stress tested its network and has all the info it needs.

It would only do such a thing again should there truly be an extended outage, but there's no guarantee things are fixed yet. What was once Vodafail has become Telstrafail... (pre-publish update - it went down again. Then it came back...)

In addition, Telstra's site ominously asks "Thinking of switching? Now's the time". Of course, Telstra wants people to switch to Telstra, but with all these outages, Telstra customers might be wondering whether they should switch away. 

Still, this appears to be the third major Telstra outage in recent weeks, so unless there are some really, really clumsy network engineers over there, something strange is going on.

Cosmic rays? Alien activity? What else might it be?

Tweets below - please read on!

One tweeter, Tiago Griffo @tiagogriffo says: “another @Telstra outage. Curious as to whether they are going to blame a single employee again? Or maybe this is a system issue? @samnewman?”

Daniel Cavka ‏@daniel_cavka says: “#Telstra what is going on, I keep losing service in the middle of Sydney CBD”

Justin Barrie ‏@JustinBarrie sees the funny side of things, saying: “Hey Telstra customers, stop clogging up my Optus data with your whining!”

Johnny ‏@MrJohnny76 is also a comedian, noting: “I wish I was on #Telstra so I could complain too

Andrew Casey ‏@zanthius asks: “@telstra Have you tried turning it off and on again? #telstra #telstraoutage”

Telstra @Telstra_news itself stated 25 mins ago as I type: “We are aware of an issue affecting some of our mobile customers. We’re working to as soon as possible. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.”

Trevor Long @trevorlong says “My information is that @telstra has around 4000 sites down. Around half their network is my understanding #telstra”

Finally, it may not be just Telstra’s mobile network. It might be Telstra’s entire wired and wireless network that is experiencing problems.

More to come when we know more - although my prediction JUST came through - the streaming audio I was listening to on the Telstra-powered phone just cut out, and it says ‘SOS only’ at the top of the phone, indicating Telstra’s problems are still ongoing.

Post-publish udpate: audio still streaming on my Telstra-powered phone - so with any luck the up and down 'yoyo' nature of the network is finally solved. For the sanity of Telstra's customers, let's hope so!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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