Telco networks mostly unscathed by NSW bushfires

Telstra restoring landlines after power outages.

Smoke over Sydney during bushfires on 17 October. Credit: [[xref:|Andrea Schaffer]]

Smoke over Sydney during bushfires on 17 October. Credit: [[xref:|Andrea Schaffer]]

Telcos are not reporting major network problems despite severe bushfires continuing to burn in New South Wales.

On Monday morning, 56 bushfires were burning across the state with 12 out of control, according to a report this morning by the ABC.

Telstra is “working to restore 254 landlines in the Yellow Rock area this morning,” a spokesperson said today.

Over the weekend, Telstra said it was trying to restore landline services in Yellow Rock and Catherine Hill Bay where it could not gain safe access to infrastructure.

Overall, however, Telstra said its telecom infrastructure remained “largely intact with the main issue being power outages.”

“In some areas the fire was so intense it may have damaged our cables connecting exchanges to homes and businesses. We will be assessing the damage as soon as access is available and additional crews are on standby to make repairs.”

Affected Telstra customers may register for an assistance package by calling 13 2203, it said. Eligible customers will receive free diversions of landline phones to a mobile phone, with landline rates applying to the mobile calls.

Telstra said it is allowing residents in bushfire areas to use any Telstra payphone to make free local, national and mobile calls. The telco has also distributed pre-paid phones, SIMs and phone chargers to evacuation centres.

Meanwhile, Optus said it has seen no impact to Optus services or network infrastructure in fire affected areas, but is closely monitoring the fire situation across NSW.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia similarly reported no problems. “All sites are operational,” a spokesperson said.

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