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Optus network outage may be Australia’s biggest ever – what may have caused the issue

More than 10 million Australians have been cut off after a nationwide outage of the Optus mobile and broadband network that brought customers and businesses across the country to a standstill.

At the time of writing, the network has been offline for more 8 hours after the outage began around 3am.

Optus has made limited generic statements about the fact there is an outage but has told us little else.

It is likely to be the largest outage ever with customers being affected in every major capitol city – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth – across mobile and broadband.

Optus has also indicated that the issue is a “deep fault” and that it is not the result of a cyber breach.

By 5pm the Optus network was slowly coming back on line – but Optus has yet to make a formal announcement or release any statement.

According to our sources, it was caused by a routing issue with a data centre located in Sydney not being able to cope with the data load and bringing the whole network down. But, again, Optus has yet to confirm this.

Optus released this statement at 5.33pm:

  • Optus sincerely apologises to customers for today’s outage.
  • We know that customers rely on our services, which is why the whole team at Optus has been working hard to fix this.
  • Services have now been restored, and customers should now be able to be back online.
  • We again thank customers for their patience.

This latest drama follows the massive Optus data breach in September 2022 which resulted in millions of customers information leaked and the company’s reputation severely tarnished.

The effects of today’s outage widespread with customers unable to connect over the mobile networks or use their Internet services.

But the biggest impact is being felt by businesses who can’t use payment terminals to accept credit card or smartphone tap payments.

Tech Guide has heard of issues with passengers checking into their flights online with Qantas.

The Commonwealth Bank has also been affected with customers unable to receive netcodes to authorise payments.

But the bank’s ATMs, the CommBank app, Netbank and CommBiz and CommBank-connected merchant terminals have been unaffected

The Optus outages even affected EV charging stations and in particular the EVIE network of charges which connect drivers to their platform to make payment via the Optus network.

Federal Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said she appreciates the frustration is not only in terms of inconvenience but, in some cases, it is economic frustration.

“It is vital for Optus to be transparent and timely in the updates that it is giving to its customers about the nature of the fault, its impacts and its possible rectification,” Ms Rowland said.

“It is essential that we have that timeliness and that transparency to give consumers confidence in what is a vital part of our infrastructure and services in this country – that is access to telecommunications, mobile broadband as well as fixed line services.

“So what we do know is that this is a deep fault that has occurred deep within the network.

“It has wide ramifications across mobile fixed and broadband services for Optus customers.”

NBN says it’s business as usual for them: “At the wholesale level the NBN network is performing normally and as we would expect. However, Optus NBN customers may be experiencing difficulties with connecting to the NBN as a result of the Optus outage,” the NBN statement said.

Tech Guide has been contacted by numerous readers who ae saying they’ve had enough of Optus and asking for recommendations for other networks.