Telstra says triple-0 services across Australia are returning to normal after outages and delays caused by lightning striking a cable in New South Wales overnight.
The cable between Orange and Bowral was cut in the early hours of the morning. Telstra later tweeted a photo of the cable pit, which it said had “significant fire damage consistent with lightning strike”.
Telstra says the cable has now been restored and emergency services were returning to normal.
The intermittent interruptions had affected emergency calls in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.
Update: The restoration of the cable in NSW has been completed. E000 services are returning to normal. We're working with emergency services and our government and enterprise customers to manage any residual issues. We're deeply sorry for the interruptions.
— Telstra News (@Telstra_news) May 4, 2018
Hundreds of traffic lights in Victoria were also affected, and there were reports of disruptions to other telephone services and EFTPOS machines.
Check your state below.
Two-hour delay before back-up systems kicked in
NSW Police Assistant Deputy Commissioner Mark Walton said emergency services realised about 2.00am that calls were not getting through to triple-0.
He said back-up systems kicked in from 4:00am, but he did not know how many calls had been missed in NSW due to the outage.
“We really don’t have any numbers on that at the moment,” he said.
“We have asked that question of all our agencies. That’s something we’ll assess.”
“The problem is not resolved.”
“That (triple-0) service is still operating. However, the reliability of the service is a concern and we have activated our normal emergency management redundancy arrangements.”
A reminder to everyone needing emergency services to call Triple Zero (000) FIRST but if you can't get through call the Police Assistance Line on 131 444 for ALL emergencies in NSW.
— NSW Police (@nswpolice) May 4, 2018
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said there was a five-minute delay in receiving a “non-life threatening” triple-0 call from the north coast region, but no further delays had been reported.
Sunshine Coast Police Superintendent Darryl Johnson said there were problems with triple-0 calls coming into the communications centre in Maroochydore, but it did not place anyone in danger.
“Our business continuity plan kicked into place and those calls were redirected to Police Link in Brisbane,” Superintendent Johnson said.
“They were talking to our crews on the ground and were able to send them on jobs that way.
“There was no-one in any danger out there when they called triple-0 of not getting a response.”
Telstra’s group managing director of networks Mike Wright apologised to customers for the outage.
“The network of course is designed to recover from these events by switching to alternate routes and it did for the majority of customers,” Mr Wright said.
“But what we did see is that some servers didn’t switch over as planned and the main one impacted was triple-0.
Issue also affecting traffic lights
Victoria’s Emergency Services Commissioner, Craig Lapsley, said the issue appeared to be resolved in Victoria.
“It’s back up, we’re seeing all calls in Victoria being received,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“It’s a national system that routes you to your location, so in that sense we were a little lost about how an outage in New South Wales has a big impact across other states, including Victoria.”
But the disruption also affected several hundred traffic lights in Victoria.
VicRoads said the affected traffic lights were operating but their normal sequencing could be changed, which may cause traffic delays.
Telstra earlier said the cable was cut at 2.05am, causing “intermittent voice mobile connection interruptions”.
“Routers impacted by the cable cut were restored about 4:50am today and services progressively returned to normal. A @Telstra fibre repair crew has been dispatched,” the telco said in a tweet.
“We’re working to restore services ASAP and are sorry for service interruptions,” it said.
“Current impact mostly in NSW and some interruptions in Vic, SA and WA.”
Gerard Hayes, the secretary of the Human Services Union in NSW, said there needed to be a full investigation into the matter.
“It’s quite an unforgivable situation that we find ourselves in,” Mr Hayes said.
“People’s lives will be put at risk because of this. People ring (triple-0) when they are in a situation that is really dire.
“The Government should be on top of this. The Government stands up for the triple-0 number consistently and tells people [they] should call triple-0 when they have problems.
“Well the fact of the matter is what’s the point of calling triple-0 when it’s not answering.”
New South Wales
NSW Police are experiencing “ongoing intermittent issues”.
People should call the Police Assistance line on 131 444 if their triple-0 call fails.
NSW Rural Fire Service had no issues with emergency calls overnight.
Ambulance Victoria is experiencing issues with some calls to triple-0.
“Victorians calling triple-0 who don’t get through the first time keep trying,” Ambulance Victoria tweeted.
Victoria Police said it had been getting calls all night but was investigating further.
Queensland Ambulance said it was not aware of any problems of people calling them on triple-0.
Queensland Police said there had been some issues on the Sunshine Coast but the problem did not appear to be widespread.
A statement regarding a fault affecting Telstra’s Triple-Zero (000) service:https://t.co/DoxGyP8pEm
— Queensland Ambulance (@QldAmbulance) May 4, 2018
Calls to WA Police are still getting through but some people are having trouble connecting with St Johns Ambulance (SJA).
People who cannot reach SJA on either the landline or mobile can request to speak to police and the police will direct an ambulance to the emergency.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services was also impacted but is now back online.
South Australia Police said it was receiving calls but anyone experiencing issues with triple-0 should call 131 444.
Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) said its direct brigade alarm notification system was affected by the issue.
“If your premise is automatically connected to the fire brigade via a fire alarm system and your fire alarm activates you must call Triple Zero to alert TFS,” it said on Facebook.
Police and emergency services are receiving triple-0 calls. Anyone who cannot get through should call 131 444.