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Cyclone Yasi Update from Telstra

Telstra News

Posted on February 3, 2011

4 min read

Following the coastal crossing of Cyclone Yasi overnight, Telstra’s two key priorities for today are confirming the safety of our team and assessing the initial impact on our network in North Queensland.

We have around 200 technicians on the ground and additional resources on hand to begin repair and recovery works as soon as it is safe to do so.

Impacts to landline and broadband services

We are seeing scattered customer impact from Cairns to Townsville to landline and broadband services. Early indications suggest that around 15,000 landline phones are currently not operating and over 60 mobile towers are without service on the network. Despite this, our mobile network is operating normally in these areas, as many impacted sites have overlapping coverage.

In addition to network outages, we expect individual service faults to be much higher across the region as people return home and to their businesses.

Power outages across the region will have an impact on our network over coming days. We can advise that we have around 450 network sites (exchanges, mobile towers, and roadside cabinets) that are currently without power. They are operating on back-up power at this stage. Our crews will work hard to keep these sites powered, but there will be some sites we cannot access due to safety reasons like damaged power lines and debris blocking access.

We anticipate that many network sites will be damaged. We will be assessing the worst hit priority sites in consultation with emergency service crews so that we can commence repairs.

Increased mobile network traffic

We are noticing that our mobile network is carrying significantly increased traffic. Customers may experience difficulties in making and holding mobile calls. Where this is happening, we advise that customers wait a few minutes, then try again.

We know how important it is to keep customers connected during this time. Telstra is committed to repowering and restoring the network as quickly as possible and thanks north Queenslanders for their patience during this time.

If you are calling Telstra and notice a delay:

As a staff safety measure, we have temporarily closed several call centres based in north Queensland. As a result, customers may experience some delay in reaching our teams, however, all calls will be diverted and answered by other centres.

Tips for customers during this time

  • Power and your home phone – it is best to use a standard fixed phone during this time, as it does not rely on 240V power to operate. Power failures will affect cordless PSTN phones and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services that require 240V power to operate. Customers using VoIP should check with their service providers. Power failures will also impact other home electrical items like broadband modems and Foxtel.
  • Have a spare mobile battery – it’s advisable to have a spare, fully charged battery on stand-by. Also, charge your battery when you have the opportunity due to power outages.
  • Carry an additional mobile phone charger – an in-car and a separate AC mains charger are essential if you are leaving your home.
  • Keep essential numbers close by – have a list of essential contact numbers close at hand, including local Police, Fire, SES and Telstra’s fault line – 13 22 03.
  • Use Triple Zero (000) appropriately – only call Triple Zero in life threatening emergencies.
  • Keep calls to a minimum – it’s advisable to keep calls to a minimum during this time to allow people to call emergency service organisations.

Tips on how to preserve mobile battery life:

  • Limit phone use to essential communications (voice & SMS).
  • Switch Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth services off (unless required).
  • Reduce screen brightness via your phone settings.
  • Avoid surfing the net or playing videos on your phone.

Telstra Store Closures

Cyclone Yasi hits Queensland coast - Satelite Image - Image Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Our Telstra Stores and licensees across the impacted area including Cairns, Townsville, Smithfield, and Mackay have made the decision to close today. We will update customers when stores will reopen in these areas.

To report a fault

Please call:

  • Residential: 13 22 03
  • Telstra Business customers: 13 29 99
  • Telstra Enterprise and Government customers: 1800 815 851

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