Cable rupture cripples Australian phone service

Summary:Telecommunications in Australia were crippled Friday with a meltdown in the network of one of the country's largest carriers.The main fiber-optic cable used in the Cable & Wireless Optus network was cut, according to reports, severing an important artery between Sydney and Melbourne, and launching networks into chaos.

Telecommunications in Australia were crippled Friday with a meltdown in the network of one of the country's largest carriers. The main fiber-optic cable used in the Cable & Wireless Optus network was cut, according to reports, severing an important artery between Sydney and Melbourne, and launching networks into chaos.

The outage -- which occurred shortly after 10 a.m. local time Friday and had not been fixed as of two hours later -- has seriously affected telephone service nationwide, as well as ISPs and data networks, including those of ZDNet Australia. It has also affected the Australian stock exchange and ATM networks.

The cause of the cable rupture was not immediately known.

The Optus main switchboard was overloaded while officials scrambled to produce an explanation.

"We have calls coming out of our ears," one employee said.

More details to follow. -- ZDNet Australia

Topics: Optus, Fiber, Networking, Outage

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