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Australia to probe massive Optus outage that affected millions

Australia said on Thursday it would investigate an outage at telco Optus that cut off internet and phone connections to nearly half of its population, causing widespread chaos and leading some small business customers to seek compensation.

More than 10 million Australians were hit by the 12-hour network blackout at the nation’s second largest telco for much of Wednesday, triggering fury and frustration among customers and raising wider concerns about the telecommunications infrastructure.

Optus apologised again on Thursday and blamed the outage on a “network event” that triggered a “cascading failure”. It did not elaborate. Optus has previously ruled out a cyber attack.

Customers will be given free data “to acknowledge their patience and loyalty” CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said in a statement.

Hours earlier, the government announced a post-incident review into the outage that hit payments, transport and hospitals and about 40% of the population. Communications Minister Michelle Rowland describing the incident as “particularly concerning”.

“While we welcome that Optus services were restored over the course of the day, it is critical the government conducts a process to identify lessons to be learned from yesterday’s outage,” Rowland said in a statement.

Australia’s media regulator will conduct a separate review into the outage after emergency triple zero calls went down on Optus landlines, Rowland added.

Taxi driver Ian Martin-Brown told Nine Network that he might take legal action after losing a day’s work. Other customers including cafe owners and niche online retailers told media outlets they would seek compensation for lost revenue. Reuters

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