Earlier this year on Friday 4 May, Telstra experienced a service disruption that affected the ability for some people to call Triple Zero. The disruption was due to the combined impact of three separate network issues – a hardware fault, fire damage to a main inter-capital fibre cable, and a software fault.
We take our responsibilities as the service provider for Triple Zero (000) extremely seriously. One failed call to Triple Zero is one too many and we apologise again for what occurred.
Following the Triple Zero disruption, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Department of Communications and the Arts (DoCA) commenced investigations into what occurred and today both have released their findings.
The ACMA found Telstra had contravened section 22 of the Telecommunications (Emergency Call Service) Determination 2009 and the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 by failing to ensure that all emergency calls were carried to our 000 emergency services answering point.
The DoCA has made 11 recommendations on improvements to infrastructure, processes and communications that Telstra, industry and Government could make to reduce the risk of similar disruptions in the future. Telstra has already established a program of work directed to the recommendations of the DoCA, and a number of these have already been completed.
The events of 4 May 2018 were complex and unprecedented, and Telstra responded by conducting its own extensive investigation into what occurred in order to identify further process and network improvements. We also worked cooperatively with the ACMA and the Federal Government on their own investigations.
We have also entered into an enforceable undertaking with the ACMA to make and maintain a number of improvements including to:
- our monitoring and fault detection processes and systems
- our network redundancy and diversity for emergency calls
- our infrastructure and software
Importantly we are also working with Emergency Services Organisations and other network operators to develop a crisis communications plan and protocols in the unlikely event a similar incident occurs in the future.
Telstra has a long and proud history in providing critical telecommunications services to Australians and has been operating the Triple Zero answer service for more than 50 years. As DoCA has recognised in its report, Telstra’s historical performance in delivering the service has been high.