The government has confirmed a nationwide Optus outage was triggered by a fault in the provider’s core network.
While Optus itself is yet to reveal the root cause behind the blackout on Wednesday, experts had suggested it was most likely a software upgrade failure given that most updates occur between 2am and 4am.
More than 10 million customers and 400,000 businesses were impacted after Optus’ mobile services went down at 4am AEDT on Wednesday.
Optus says that services have now been restored and “customers should now be able to be back online”.
“Optus sincerely apologises to customers for today’s outage,” a spokesperson said.
“We know that customers rely on our services, which is why the whole team at Optus has been working hard to fix this.”
The outage wreaked delays across Melbourne’s suburban train network, which has now been restored, and impacted hospitals, GPs, and phone lines across the country.
Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said customers were extremely frustrated with the national telco.
“Optus have not given a precise time frame. They have assured that they are working as quickly as possible but I reiterate that it is important for Optus to keep customers updated and in a timely way because this is precisely the questions that customers are asking,” she said.
“I think Optus needs to make sure that they step up and communicate with people because as I understand that this started in the early hours of this morning.”
When a mobile phone device connects to a telecommunications provider, such as Optus, it connects to a provider’s “core network”. Core networks are considered the “brain” of a service and often consist of specialised hardware that resides in a fixed location, such as a data centre.
Ms Rowland said the impact of the outage on major agencies such as Medicare was “being monitored” and stressed the government would be doing everything in its power to assist Optus.
“It does underscore how essential telecommunications art to our everyday lives. I think that is all the more reason why it is important to have the most timely information available to customers because they need to go about their business as consumers, they need to go about their lives, and they rely on these services so much,” she said.
Optus has confirmed that some of its internet and mobile services have come back online over nine hours after its network plunged into a blackout.
Speaking on 2GB on Wednesday afternoon, Optus chief Kelly Bayer Rosmarin apologised to customers and said engineers were working “expeditiously” to restore all services nationwide.
“Unfortunately, it was a nationwide outage … [we are] very, very sorry that this occurred, we know how important it is for all our customers to be connected, and we have been working tirelessly since the outage started to restore services for our customers.”
Ms Rosmarin said millions of Optus customers could be entitled to compensation for the outage and said the company would do everything it could to give “great service”.
This came after Optus posted on X that it could take hours for services to fully recover, confirming that some mobile users were still unable to call triple zero.
Federal Senator Sarah Hanson-Young slammed the outage a “disgrace” and said the Greens would be pushing for an inquiry into the telecommunications failure.
Speaking at a press conference, Senator Young criticized Ms Rosmarin for a lack of communications and said the Greens planned to move an urgent Senate motion for a probe on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s a disgrace that so far, eight hours on, the CEO of Optus has done nothing than [..] phone it in, rather than fronting the Australian community,” she told reporters.