Optus outage likely to force changes at telcos

The aftershocks of Optus's seismic network outage continue to shake the telecommunications industry, more than four months later.

In November, the telco giant experienced a 14-hour network outage that left more than 10 million customers and thousands of businesses without phone and internet services.

Throughout the day, thousands of calls made to the emergency line triple-zero were unable to go through, and the cause of the disruption was not identified until days later.

The federal government said on Friday it has received a report following a review led by former Deputy Chair of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) Richard Bean on the Optus outage.

The findings have not been publicly released yet, but the government says it makes recommendations "aimed at ensuring the telco industry learns from this outage".

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland in Question Time
Minister Michelle Rowland says industry and government have to learn lessons from the Optus outage. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland acknowledged the impact of the event, particularly the serious effects it had on public safety, access to essential services and the ability for businesses to trade.

"We want industry and government to learn the lessons from this event, and take steps to prevent this type of disruption occurring again," she said.

"We will consider the recommendations from the review, and publicly release both the final report and the government's response in due course."

Former Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin
Former Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin faced a Senate inquiry over the telco's outage response. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

Optus's CEO at the time, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, resigned shortly after she was grilled at a Senate inquiry in late November.

In February, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman said it had received more than 900 complaints about the incident.

Twenty per cent of those complaints were from small businesses.

Complaints included financial losses, termination fees and a lack of, or delayed action, by the telco giant.

In terms of reparations, most customers sought credits, refunded or discounted services, financial compensation or an apology.

"For some people, the offer of free data to compensate for a full day outage is fair and reasonable," ombudsman Cynthia Gebert said at the time.

"But businesses who lost profit, people who couldn't call triple zero, or who experienced other significant losses told us that free data is not enough."

Since then, rumours have swirled around Optus's parent company SingTel after reports it had engaged in discussions to sell the embattled telco in March.

The review examined emergency call arrangements, customer communications and complaints handling following the outage.

Though the technical cause of the outage was not within the scope of the review, the disruption to some triple-zero calls was predominantly caused by a failure of Optus 3G towers to wilt.

Wilting is an industry practice where signals from mobile towers are powered down during disruptions to allow Triple Zero to be carried by another network.

Opposition communications spokesman David Coleman urged the government to act quickly.

"The report cannot gather dust. It cannot be swept under the carpet," he said.

"There is urgency here."