Telstra outage caused by exchange fire

Telstra mobile and fixed customers are experiencing an outage thanks to a fire at one of the telco's exchanges.

Telstra has confirmed that some of its customers are experiencing an outage across fixed-line and mobile services due to a fire at one of its exchanges.

"A fire at one of our exchanges is impacting some mobile and fixed services," Telstra said on twitter following complaints from customers.

"We're working to resolve ASAP. Thanks for your patience."

A spokesperson from Australia's largest telecommunications provider told ZDNet that the fire is at its Chatswood exchange, adding that its technicians are assessing the situation to determine the impact.

"A fire at the Chatswood Exchange in Sydney this afternoon has been contained, but damage has been caused to some power infrastructure," the spokesperson said.

"As a result, a number customers are experiencing loss of service. Our technicians are currently completing a full assessment of the impact. We will provide more information as soon as it is available."

As of 3:15pm AEDT, Telstra said voice services are beginning to be restored; however, the telco added that SMS messages are still not being received.

"There is a related issue impacting SMS messaging. Customers won't be receiving SMS messages in the short term while we resolve this issue," the spokesperson said.

"A fire at the Chatswood Exchange in Sydney this afternoon has been contained, but damage has been caused to some power infrastructure. Our technicians are currently completing a full assessment of the impact."

The issue follows seven outages on the Telstra network during the first half of 2016: The first almost a year ago, on February 22, which affected prepaid and post-paid mobile services and was caused by "embarrassing human error"; the second on March 17, which involved an hours-long national mobile data and voice outage; and the third on March 22, which was a smaller voice outage.

It then experienced an NBN and ADSL outage in May that resulted in the telco having to send free modems to customers still affected several days later; a mobile data services outage later that week; a broadband service outage in June; and an outage that took down businesses across Victoria, including banks, hospitals, department stores, and Jetstar.

As a result, Telstra CEO Andrew Penn in June committed the telco to investing an additional AU$250 million in its network over the next six to 12 months in three major areas: AU$50 million to be spent on improving mobile network resiliency by creating better real-time monitoring and speeding up recovery time; AU$100 million on increasing the core fixed-line network's reliability and resiliency; and AU$100 million on upping its ADSL broadband capacity to cope with demand.

The Telstra Mail service also experienced issues in August 2016.

Updated at 2pm AEDT, February 2, 2017: Added location of the exchange fire.

Updated at 2:30pm AEDT, February 2, 2017: Added quote from Telstra.

Updated at 3:20pm AEDT, February 2, 2017: Voice services are starting to be restored.

Updated at 3:40pm AEDT, February 2, 2017: SMS services are still out.

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