Inquiry launched into Victorian Telstra exchange fire

Summary:The Australian government will launch an inquiry into the recent Victorian exchange fire that cut off phone and internet services for 60,000 people.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has announced an inquiry to identify possible lessons from the recent Warrnambool Telstra exchange fire, which left 60,000 customers in south-western Victoria without telecommunication services.

Conroy said that he understands the frustration people and business felt to be left without a phone and other services following the fire on November 22.

"A fire of this type is infrequent, but given how important telecommunications infrastructure is for the day-to-day lives of all Australians, an inquiry is appropriate," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Telstra said that mobile coverage had been restored to all 41 base stations, adding that it hoped to have services fully restored by the end of the week.

So far, 57 percent of landline customers have had their services repaired.

The minister said that the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy will conduct the inquiry.

Conroy also said that the inquiry will canvass the cause of the fire, the effectiveness of the fire prevention strategies, hold a public forum on the event's impact on the community, and the planning for a continuing service on telecommunications infrastructure.

Topics: Telcos, Australia, Government, Government : AU, Telstra

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