By Ryan Johnson
Australia has awoken to chaos after Optus suffered a major outage affecting millions of customers as hospitals, businesses and transport networks struggle to get back online.
According to Downdetector, Optus outages were first reported at around 4am before peaking at 8,588 reports just before 6am.
Optus responded to the outage an hour later, saying, “we're aware of an issue impacting Optus mobile and nbn services and are working to restore services as quickly as possible”.
“We understand connectivity is important and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Banks have also been affected, with all four major banks issuing statements about their level of services available.
“Of course, where a NAB customer uses the Optus network, they may see some of their services impacted.”
Commbank said its ATMs, NetBank, CommBank app, Branches, CommBiz and merchant terminals are still available.
“You can still get in touch via the CommBank app or online banking, but there may be delays,” said Commbank on X, formerly known as Twitter.
ANZ said on the same platform that it’s aware of the current nationwide Optus outage and that “this may be affecting customers trying to contact us”.
“We apologise for any inconvenience. The ANZ App, ANZ Plus app, ANZ Internet Banking, Message Us and ATMs continue to be available during this time.”
Westpac posted that while the current Optus outage meant it was unable to take some calls at this time, “our branches, chat, mobile and internet banking services are still up and running”.
Commercial finance broker Samuel McDonald said Optus is Westpac and Capital’s service provider.
“All their lines are down, its email only over there. Had been trying to call a couple of BDMs for last two hours before they sent an email out informing of the outage,” said McDonald.
Luckily, Atlas Broker, where McDonald is a commercial broker on the Central Coast, has not been affected too badly.
“I’ve called a couple of clients to get details and the phone does not ring. Infer from that they are with Optus. Just slowing down the process more than anything,” he said.
“Not sure how they would be going with DocuSign contracts as it’s becoming more and more part of the workflow.”
Elsewhere, commuters have faced problems with train networks, with the Metro Train services in Melbourne experiencing significant delays.
“Services are currently stopped due to a communications outage across the train network. We are working to rectify this issue as soon as possible,” said Metro Trains. “Please consider alternative travel arrangements.”
However, there are reports of no bus replacements, and the people who are affected have no access to rideshare options or even maps.
Many state police departments have taken to Twitter to reassure the community that there are no issues affecting Triple Zero (‘000’) phone calls.
Optus chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin has spoken to ABC Radio Sydney about the Optus outage.
She provided an update on where the situation is at, saying, ‘the mobile network and that network is down, but there are some customers still able to get the Optus Wi-Fi and connect that way,” Bayer Rosmarin said.
“We may have some additional updates to provide in the next hour.”
UPDATE: Optus has advised Triple Zero (000) is operating normally on mobile devices if another carrier is available, but has flagged that the fixed-line network (eg; landline) is not operating for 000 calls.— Michelle Rowland (@MRowlandMP) November 7, 2023
Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said the federal government had sought further information from Optus about this development, including when they expected services would be restored.
“Connectivity is essential for Australian consumers and businesses. The impacts of this outage are concerning and has left many Australians feeling anxious,” said Rowland.
“We urge Optus to communicate with their customers by whatever means possible to keep them updated.”