Optus review to consider role of govt in responding to outages

Former ACMA Deputy Chair Richard Bean will lead a government review of the Optus outage which left some 10 million people without phone or internet connections.

Richard Bean

The government on Tuesday released the terms of reference for the review, with a focus on emergency calls, customer communications and complaints handling.

It will also consider the role of government in responding to national service outages.

Communications minister Michelle Rowland said the inquiry will provide the telecommunications industry with an opportunity to proactively address underlying issues that arose in relation to the Optus outage, as well as giving the government a foundation for potential reforms.

“This is an issue that goes right across the industry, the regulatory framework, government, how this impacted the community,” she told the ABC.

“It’s about being proactive and using this as an opportunity to identify potential failures in the system, where things can be improved. This will ensure we have a thorough evidence base for regulations going forward and to lift the bar on how consumers can be served.”

The Review will report on and make recommendations regarding: 

  1. The functioning of Triple Zero during the outage
  2. The role of government in managing and responding to national service outages
  3. The adequacy of requirements for customer communication in national service outages
  4. Customer complaints and compensation following the outage
  5. The role of other networks in supporting a network during a major outage
  6. Resilience and interdependencies in the telecommunications sector

Mr Bean was the Deputy Chair of the ACMA for over seven years, including a period as the Acting Chair.  He has a long history of involvement with the communications sector and is currently serving as an Executive Director for Ad Standards and on the Nominations committee of auDA.

He’ll report to the government by February 29.

Appearing before a senate inquiry on November 17, Former CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said the November 8 outage occurred when Optus routers disconnected from the network during an upgrade by its parent company Singtel.

Singtel has denied that was the root cause.

Ms Bayer Rosmarin announced her resignation on November 20.

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