Optus, one of Australia's largest telecommunications providers, experienced a widespread outage on Wednesday, leaving millions of customers without internet and phone connectivity. The unexpected outages caused nationwide turmoil, including problems with electronic payment systems and emergency phone lines.
Optus CEO, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, promptly ruled out a cyberattack but did not explain the cause of the eight-hour outage during her ABC Radio interview. She said, "Our systems are actually very stable. This is a very, very, rare occurrence."
The company which serves more than 10 million customers, representing approximately 40% of Australia's population, posted on social media that certain fixed and mobile services were progressively recovering, but it could take a few hours for all services to resume.
The widespread outage impacted mobile phones, landlines, and broadband internet services. It even resulted in dozens of hospitals being unable to receive calls. Additionally, Optus’ landlines failed to connect with emergency agencies. Even the New South Wales Poisons hotline was reportedly affected, potentially putting lives at risk.
The situation has raised concerns about the reliability of Australia's telco infrastructure and the potential implications of network failures. It comes just a little over a year after Optus fell victim to a significant cyberattack, during which the personal information of more than nine million customers was stolen. Thus, raising questions about the company's security measures and preparation.