Telstra link cut to Cairns

Telstra link cut to Cairns

Summary: A cut in Telstra's network link at Ingham in Queensland has left Queenslanders from that town to Cairns without connectivity.

TOPICS: Telcos, Optus, Telstra

update A cut in Telstra's network link at Ingham in Queensland has left Queenslanders from that town to Cairns without connectivity.

In the wake of Tropical Cyclone Yasi, which tore through Northern Queensland on Wednesday night, Telstra this morning said that communications were cut due to losing mains power to a key link in Ingham, while not being able to keep backup generators running.

"The Ingham link is necessary for us to provide voice and mobile services to our customers north of Ingham to Cairns," Telstra said. "These links normally operate on backup power, but a combination of flooding and emergency services 'red zones' means we are unable to access and repair the issue immediately."

"We continue to monitor our network and work with Emergency Services Queensland and the State Government and we will provide regular updates."

This afternoon, Telstra reported that the link had since been repaired, explaining that data services and media broadcasts would have been affected during the outage but said that voice calls were largely unaffected.

"The problem arose because several telecommunications links in the area were damaged by lightning strikes and flooding," Telstra said. "Additionally, some important transmission equipment lost mains and backup power, and could not be accessed immediately due to a combination of flooding, isolation and exclusion zones imposed by local emergency services."

Yesterday, Telstra said that 450 sites had been impacted as a result of the cyclone. At last report, Optus had 87 base stations affected and Vodafone said late yesterday that some of its services had now been restored.

"Our engineers have been hard at work today assessing sites and restoring services where they have been allowed access," Vodafone said.

"We have been able to restore services in the central Mackay region and some areas in and around Cairns, but there continues to be service outages from Townsville through to Bowen which are due to power outages and transmission link failures."

The telco has advised that 3 Mobile customers in cyclone-affected areas can roam onto the Telstra network as engineers work to restore services in those areas.

Updated at 2:04pm, 4 February 2011: article amended to reflect that Telstra had repaired the broken link.

Topics: Telcos, Optus, Telstra


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • A red zone for those wondering is;

    A declared Red Zone is a "no-go" area for all Telstra staff (and contractors employed by Telstra). Staff may only work in a red zone under exceptional circumstances when authorised to perform emergency priority tasks and when supported/escorted by an Emergency Service Organisation, e.g. "wet truck" escort. A red zone will be declared when the entire exchange area is a no-go area.
  • In other News services Telstra has anounced that triple 0 does not work in cyclone affected areas. I feel this is appauling. To tell people to make sure they have local numbers at the ready is a grose misuse of the power given to Telstra, as the main provider of telco services. If the local service is available, why is triple 0 not available?Our country is built on values of helping of friends and neighbours, we teach our children to call triple 0 if they are in trouble, and most of the legitimate calls to triple 0 are in a moment of extream need, with no other options. The number, triple 0, is designed to be easy to remember, and for use in extream emergencies. I am sure in an emergency the majority of people could not remember any other numbers. To allow a telco to dominate the market and at the same time allow the most known number to be compromised while still enabing the capability to deliver a service ( local callsI am sure they bill for) can only be described as an attrosity against the Australian people. If the infrustructure is still available for local calls, telstra should be ensuring the last number to be unavailable is the well trusted triple 0.
  • regarding Devon's comments i take it he is not technicially minded when it comes to telecommunications Australia and would suggest he gets himself educated on how telecommunications work WORLD WIDE and how networks work as telecommunications is a form of a network

    The 000 callcenter is OUTSIDE the Local area and the fault was caused by the link ie the physical cable being damaged by the flooding and cyclone which physically stopped ALL DATA AND VOICE traffic that went down those cables. Calls within the local area would not be going down that cable as local calls go from your house to your local exchange and back out to the number you are ringing in your local area and dont need to go down an cable going from one exchange to another

    for example if the main highway was damaged running between towns that would not stop you driving around your local town but obviously you would be unable to drive to the neibouring town and likewise if you were in a town isolated ie surrounded by water ie floods you could drive all you like around your town but would be unable to drive out go neibouring towns

    In this case it was the main cable between exchanges damaged. to get to the 000 callcenter when you dial 000 the call goes to your local exchange then down the main cable to another exchange as it travals to the 000 call center.

    The reason Telstra couldnt repair the cable going to 000 was as the article said this area was a RED ZONE> Red zones are decided NOT BY TELSTRA but by the EMERGANCY SERVICES IE POLICE AND AMBULANCE. Red zones mean Telstra staff and contractors are prevented from accessing the area by the emergancy services due to the risk ie floods, fires etc.

    the 000 call center is OUTSIDE the Cairns Local area. as per the article the links going out of the area is goneskys
  • Well said Brumby. Unlike certain others, at least you were not rude to the person you replied to, even though his anti-Telstra comments were a bit over the top, in view of his total lack of knowledge on the subject at hand.