Home Telecoms & NBN Telstra says service 'back to normal levels', but no word on why it happened
Telstra says service 'back to normal levels', but no word on why it happened Featured

The national Telstra outage that affected 3G and 4G voice and data services this morning and afternoon appears to be over, but we're still waiting for an explanation.

Update 22 May 2018: Telstra has advised a software fault was the reason, details in this iTWire article.

Like many of you reading, I am a Telstra customer, but I completely missed out on being affected by the Telstra outage today by virtue of being out of the country at a tech conference in the US.

Thankfully, the tech conference is yet to start — it is the Epicor Insights 2018 conference in Nashville, so I've been able to follow Telstra's trials and tribulations today with interest — and bemusement over how Australia's best unlimited mobile network can go down, again

Of course, outages aren't exclusive to Telstra. Every now and then, we still get unexpected power outages, or even water outages when a water main bursts somewhere.

And to Telstra's credit, the company works as hard as possible to fix the outages as quickly as possible, for it does the company and its customers no good to be offline for too long, or even at all.

So, what has Telstra had to say about its outage now effectively being over?

Well, I received an email from a Telstra spokesperson (after complaints that I wasn't receiving any such information despite covering Telstra for iTWire and subscription-only telco-industry newsletter Commswire, and talking about them on radio, and at the Sydney PC and Technology User Group, and elsewhere.

I mean, Telstra people KNOW I cover Telstra — it's part of my job — and why I have to proactively ask them for information when it is in Telstra's interest to keep me informed up to the nanosecond is a mystery.

So too is the exact reason as to why Telstra's 3G and 4G network fell over today, despite a "doorstop" interview by Telstra's Group managing director of Networks, Mike Wright. 

I was absolutely incredulous to discover that Telstra — a supposed multi-billion and even multinational telecommunications company — wasn't streaming this doorstop live on Twitter, or YouTube, or Facebook, or anything – not even via smoke signals.

I looked for a live stream of the doorstop on Sky News or ABC News 24, but both of those channels were playing the vastly more boring and kindergarten-like Parliament live, and clearly had no intention of carrying Wright's mini press conference live.

At 2.55pm, I received an update from a Telstra spokesperson, which said: "We have now returned our mobile voice and data services to normal levels. We will closely monitor network stability and performance and continue supporting our customers to restore their services. We are again deeply sorry for any disruption as we know how customers rely on our mobile services".

I noticed this was also tweeted:



I have asked the Telstra spokesperson concerned whether there were any details to share about why the outage occurred, but oddly for a communications company, I am receiving radio silence.

Maybe it's the 21st century equivalent of a busy signal, or no answer.

In any case, the outage appears to be over. Real and mock outrage can now subside, and we can hope such an outage never happens again, but given past history, a Telstra outage (and outages from other phone companies, utilities and other services) is, sadly, guaranteed to happen again.

Update 22 May 2018: Telstra has advised a software fault was the reason, details in this iTWire article.


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