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Government investigates Optus outage after hundreds unable to access 000

The government has announced that it will be reviewing the almost full-day Optus outage that occurred earlier in the month following reports it restricted some individuals from contacting emergency services.

user icon Daniel Croft
Tue, 28 Nov 2023
Government investigates Optus outage after hundreds unable to access 000
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The Optus outage occurred on 8 November, resulting in roughly 10 million Australians unable to access mobile and internet services for 14 hours, resulting in issues with payments, businesses needing to close for the day and delays in operations such as transport.

According to Optus, 228 individuals were unable to contact Triple Zero, igniting the need for the investigation, which will evaluate how it affected the system and what would need to change to ensure it is fully operational.

The investigation was announced by Communications Minister Michelle Rowland on Monday (27 November), outlining the terms of reference for the review.


“The recent Optus outage caused significant disruption to the lives of millions of Australians, impacted small businesses, and left many without the ability to contact emergency services,” said Minister Rowland.

“We need to learn the lessons from this serious incident because no network is immune from technical faults or outages.

“The Albanese government’s post-incident review will help industry identify where its processes need to be strengthened and provide advice to government on potential reforms.

“Australians expect and deserve better from their communications service providers when these kinds of incidents arise, and I would encourage all to have their say – from impacted businesses and industry through to consumers.”

Alongside the impact the outage had on Triple Zero, the investigation will also review the government’s responsibility when outages occur, as well as if it’s possible for other telcos to pick up the slack when incidents occur.

While the issues of how the outage affected Optus customers and the lack of compensation for business customers have been a topic of discussion, the investigation will not be evaluating them.

The review will be led by the former deputy chair of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), Richard Bean, and will consult with industry leaders, federal and state government, and stakeholders.

Optus has suffered a major fallout following the outage, with the company’s chief executive, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, announcing her resignation last week following a grilling by the Senate.

“On Friday, I had the opportunity to appear before the Senate to expand on the cause of the network outage and how Optus recovered and responded,” she announced.

“I was also able to communicate Optus’ commitment to restore trust and continue to serve customers.

“Having now had time for some personal reflection, I have come to the decision that my resignation is in the best interest of Optus moving forward.

“It’s been an honour and privilege to lead the team at Optus and to serve our customers.”

The outage is the second major blow to the telco after it suffered one of the largest cyber attacks the nation has ever seen last year.

About 9.7 million current and former customers were affected, meaning over one in three Australians.

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Daniel Croft is a passionate journalist with an understanding for and experience writing in the technology space. Having studied at Macquarie University, he joined Momentum Media in 2022, writing across a number of publications including Australian Aviation, Cyber Security Connect and Defence Connect. Outside of writing, Daniel has a keen interest in music, and spends his time playing in bands around Sydney.

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