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Legal fight looms over Optus outage

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Optus customers are already demanding compensation after millions of Australians were left unable to use their phones.

Optus customers are threatening legal action over Wednesday’s mass outage, with thousands of businesses unable to trade and millions of Australians unable to access essential services.

More than 10 million customers and 400,000 businesses were impacted after the telecommunications giant’s mobile services went down at 4am AEDT and remained offline for the majority of the day.

The telco is yet to reveal the root cause behind the blackout, but the government has confirmed the outage was triggered by a fault in the provider’s core network.

OPTUS OUTAGE
The outage wreaked delays across Melbourne’s suburban train network, which has now been restored, and impacted hospitals, GPs, and phone lines across the country. Photo by: NCA Newswire /Gaye Gerard
Mr Martin-Brown said he would "definitely not" remain an Optus customer after the outage. Photo: Channel 9
Mr Martin-Brown said he would "definitely not" remain an Optus customer after the outage. Photo: Channel 9

While engineers get to the bottom of the issue, angry customers are already demanding compensation, with taxi driver Ian Martin-Brown saying he is ready to take legal action after he lost a day’s worth of work.

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He slammed the telco over their lack of communication as customers struggled.

“I‘m disgusted and I’m really, really upset a company the size of Optus would put forward such a BS story because it’s wrong, that reply has been wrong, absolutely wrong,” Mr Martin-Brown told Ali Langdon on A Current Affair.

“There should be some compensation and I think that what we‘re going to have a meeting and some of the guys are going to be putting their hand up and saying let’s go to Shine Lawyers and look at a class action against this because this is not the first time.”

The taxi driver said he “couldn’t afford” to lose a day’s work, highlighting how devastating the loss of income is during the cost of living crisis.

“We‘re going through the worst time we’ve ever had and things aren’t cheap, things are dear, the inflation is through the roof, the increase in mortgages and it’s just ridiculous, it really is,” he said.

“It’s not good and these multi-billion dollar companies are just ripping us off.

Speaking on 2GB on Wednesday afternoon, Optus chief Kelly Bayer Rosmarin apologised to customers and said engineers were working “expeditiously” to restore all services nationwide.

“Unfortunately, it was a nationwide outage … [we are] very, very sorry that this occurred, we know how important it is for all our customers to be connected, and we have been working tirelessly since the outage started to restore services for our customers.”

Optus chief Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said the telco had identified the cause of the blackout. Picture: Supplied
Optus chief Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said the telco had identified the cause of the blackout. Picture: Supplied

Ms Rosmarin said millions of Optus customers could be entitled to compensation for the outage and said the company would do everything it could to give “great service”.

The outage wreaked delays across Melbourne’s suburban train network, which has now been restored, and impacted hospitals, GPs, and phone lines across the country.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said customers were extremely frustrated with the national telco.

“Optus have not given a precise time frame. They have assured that they are working as quickly as possible but I reiterate that it is important for Optus to keep customers updated and in a timely way because this is precisely the questions that customers are asking,” she said.

“I think Optus needs to make sure that they step up and communicate with people because as I understand that this started in the early hours of this morning.”