Apology sign at Optus store
Optus says a software upgrade was behind a massive outage that affected millions of people. Image by Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS
  • telecommunication service

Optus inquiry to zero in on emergency calls, complaints

Paul Osborne November 28, 2023

Compensation for impacted customers and ensuring confidence in the triple-zero system will be explored in a federal probe into the Optus outage.

More than 10 million Optus customers were without phone and internet access for up to 14 hours on November 8.

The telco blamed a software upgrade for the network breakdown, while the fallout triggered the resignation of Optus chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin last week.

Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin
 Kelly Bayer Rosmarin resigned as CEO of the telco last week. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS 

The outage also impacted access to the triple-zero emergency call system.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said a review was warranted as it was important for people to have confidence in the system.

Ms Rowland said a second focus for the review would be consumer issues.

“This includes the adequacy of customer communications complaints, escalations, but also the compensation framework within which that operates,” she told Nine’s Today show.

The government’s response to, and management of, national outages will also be scrutinised.

Former Australian Communications and Media Authority boss Richard Bean has been appointed to lead the inquiry and will report to government by the end of February.

“He will be conducting a thorough investigation that includes industry, government, the community in general and the adequacy of those regulatory systems,” Ms Rowland said.

“It’s an opportunity to lift the bar in every respect, in order that customers are properly serviced.”

Asked whether the Optus chief’s role would be explored, the minister told ABC TV: “We are looking here at consumer issues.”

“They include communications with customers, the adequacy of escalating those complaints and compensation processes,” she said.

“So, all of these aspects in terms of consumers and small businesses as part of that, will be examined in this review.”