AUSTRALIA - Major Telecommunication Chaos...Cables Cut : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Title: Network chaos after cables cut

Source: AAP | Published: Friday May 5, 5:02 PM

Australia's telecommunications networks were plunged into chaos today after major fibre optic links were severed in two separate incidents.

Phone lines, banks, automatic teller machines, and the Australian Stock Market were the hardest hit.

Telecommunications workers and a landslide in regional Victoria were blamed for the cuts in Cable & Wireless Optus' fibre optic cable link between Sydney and Melbourne.

C&W Optus said the services 'were accidentally severed but restored within two hours' after a landslip at 2am (AEST) near Nowa Nowa, in Victoria's Gippsland region, caused a cut to one of its fibre optic cables.

In a completely unrelated incident, the remaining fibre-optic link between Sydney and Melbourne was cut just after 10am (AEST) near Wangaratta.

'This cut was caused by contractors working on another company's network,' a C&W Optus spokesman said.

'Any temporary loss of services experienced after 10am was a result of cuts to both links.'

By noon, repair work on the Nowa Nowa cut was complete and the link was fully restored by early afternoon.

C&W Optus chief technical officer Bill Hope said they moved immediately to restore services and apologise to customers affected by the breakdown.

'The odds of an incident like this happening are extremely small,' Mr Hope said.

Westpac Bank, which uses C&W Optus for half of its data communications, was severely affected by the two hour break.

Westpac Bank branches and ATMs were affected in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and in Western Australia through the Challenge Bank.

'Around 50 per cent of ATMs affected were offline for two hours this morning,' a Westpac spokeswoman said.

She said the bank apologised for any inconvenience to its customers, but most were not affected as branches were able to revert to manual procedures.

The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) had to close the market not long after opening at 10am as the cable failure had interrupted the electronic trading system in all states.

The ASX halted trading when brokers in Melbourne were unable to access the stock exchange.

A spokesman for the ASX confirmed the problem was caused by the failure of the C&W Optus network in Melbourne.

Back-up systems directed Optus traffic to Telstra's lines, causing enormous congestion that affected internet connections.

However, a Telstra spokesman said he wasn't aware of any major congestion problems, saying Telstra had handled the extra workload.

'We picked up some extra traffic but it wasn't necessarily automatic as people had to choose to over-ride Optus and switch to Telstra,' he said.

'I tried myself to call an Optus mobile this morning only to receive an engaged signal.'

ANZ Bank said it experienced minor problems with customers not being able to access its 1800 or 1300 call centre numbers.

ABC radio said it also had programs in eastern and central Australia disrupted by the problem.

A spokeswoman for the Commonwealth Bank said only part of its EFTPOS network in Victoria was affected but most merchants had a back-up processing system.


-- (, May 05, 2000


Ooops! Sorry, this was already reported by Martin Thompson. Please delete.

Thank you.

-- (, May 05, 2000.

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