Monday, 22 October 2018 10:42

ACMA probe of triple zero failure finds Telstra in breach Featured

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ACMA probe of triple zero failure finds Telstra in breach Pixabay

An ACMA investigation into the lack of provision of a triple-zero service by Telstra after an outage in May has found the telco in breach of a rule that requires it to ensure that such calls go to the emergency call service operator.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority said in a statement on Monday that Telstra had failed to ensure some 1433 calls went through to the operator due to problems triggered by a fire in an inter-state cable pit. This was compounded by network software failure.

Telstra has to comply with the Telecommunications (Emergency Call Service) Determination 2009 and the Emergency Call Service Requirements Industry Code C526:2011.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said a report released by his department into this incident and one other, when a large volume of calls were directed to triple zero from the Vocus network on 26 May, had resulted in 11 recommendations seven of which apply to Telstra.

“The government takes the safety of Australians seriously and the triple zero service is vital in keeping our community safe,” he said.

“This was the first serious disruption to the triple zero service in more than 50 years. With the measures the government is putting in place, Australians can feel confident the service will have greater safeguards in times of need.”

The ACMA said it had accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Telstra in which it committed to improving the redundancy and diversity of its network, developing new communication protocols to be used in the event of another disruption and benchmarking its systems against international best practice.

"Triple zero is the lifeline for Australians in life-threatening or emergency situations. Community confidence in the emergency call service must be maintained," said ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin.

"The actions Telstra has already taken, and is undertaking, will help strengthen the emergency call service and minimise the risk of another disruption to this critical service."

The ACMA said it was also reviewing rules governing the emergency call service to ensure they were as robust as possible and that they imposed clear, consistent and appropriate obligations.

"Given the critical nature of the Triple Zero service, the ACMA takes matters about access to the service very seriously," O'Loughlin said.

"The review will help ensure that the rules for the emergency call service remain current and effective."

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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