Government Investigates Massive Optus Outage Impact on Emergency Services and Public Communication


A 14-hour Optus outage prompted a government inquiry to determine its impact on emergency services, as well as the effectiveness of government communication during the incident.

Overview of Optus Outage

On November 8, more than 10 million Optus customers experienced a 14-hour outage, rendering them unable to access the internet or make phone calls. This resulted in the resignation of Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin.

Government Review

The federal government, led by Communications Minister Michelle Rowland, has initiated a review to investigate the Optus outage. The inquiry will focus on the potential impact on the triple-0 emergency line and the effectiveness of government messaging during the outage.

Key Points of Investigation

The government probe will specifically examine whether access to the triple-0 emergency line was hindered and analyze the effectiveness of government messaging. The review will not address the technical causes of the outage or the compensation debate.

Scope of the Probe

The terms of reference for the investigation include a focus on the technical settings necessary to ensure continued access to triple-0, as well as the reliance on other networks during a major outage. The probe will be led by former Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) chief executive Richard Bean, with findings expected by the end of February.

Impact on Emergency Services

The outage raised concerns about access to emergency services, with more than 200 Optus customers reportedly unable to contact triple-0. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has also launched an investigation into the issue.

Government Messaging Scrutiny

The inquiry will also scrutinize the efficiency of government messaging during the outage. Communications Minister Michelle Rowland criticized Optus for not promptly providing customers with information and urged them to use TV and radio platforms for timely updates.

Response from Authorities

Optus had offered free data to customers as an apology, but this gesture was criticized, especially by the impacted business customers who suffered financial losses. Minister Rowland emphasized the need for improved communication from service providers during such incidents.