Optus outage causes delays to transport, health and education services

The Optus network experienced nation-wide outages for almost 10 hours. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

By Tanya Faulkner

Optus’s worst network outage has left Hills locals disconnected.

Across the country, those who were connected to the telco provider were unable to access any networks on Wednesday 8 November, causing delays to transport, health and education services, alongside several businesses who were forced to close their doors.

At approximately 1.30pm on Wednesday, Optus reported its services were coming back online after the eight hour hiatus, with locals taking to social media to share their complaints and distress from the outages – some sharing they would be ‘considering changing providers’.

Hills locals shared they had “trouble calling their doctor who was with Optus”, reports of university networks going down, and one Cardinia tradesperson saying they had to go to their job site and “hope for the best”.

One local shared they had been toying with the idea of moving from Optus Mobile for a while now, and the outage brought that decision to the top of the queue.

In Melbourne’s South East, Metro Trains reported delays to their services while the network was down, whilst Eastern Health said inbound and outbound calls were impacted, however, they managed to keep their services running as per normal.

Metro Trains CEO Raymond O’Flaherty said they apologise to their passengers for the delay to their travel after a communications outage stopped trains on the metropolitan network.

“Our engineers worked quickly to rectify the issue and we were able to resume trains shortly before 6am.”

“We thank passengers for their patience while trains return to their normal timetable,” he said.

The nation’s major banks, including Westpac, ANZ and CommBank also reported outages to their services, with several customers unable to access accounts, make or receive payments for the majority of the day.

CBA customers have also reported they could not transfer money or make cash withdrawals because they were unable to receive an SMS verification code.

Optus customers on landline were also unable to contact emergency services during the outage, and were advised that only mobile calls to ‘000’ may get through.

According to the Australian Government, the outage affected as many as 10 million people nationwide.

Communications minister Michelle Rowland vented to the press at around 11am, stressing it was vital for Optus to be “transparent and timely” in finding a solution.

However, despite Optus sharing a public statement on their Facebook page ‘Optus Help’, the network disabled comments after thousands of complaints.

The post shared at around 7am said that “some services across fixed and mobile are now gradually being restored”.

“This may take a few hours for all services to recover, and different services may restore at different sites over that time.

“We reiterate our apology to customers for the nationwide service outage that has occurred this morning.

“We will continue to provide updates as we have information available,” they said.

Customers were impacted across the nation, including in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, and Brisbane all recording widespread impacts from the outage.

The cause of the outage has not yet been confirmed, however, Optus has ruled out the chaos was caused by hackers.