28 Jan update (AM): Communication impacts due to flooding in Queensland

Media Release, 28 January 2013

Severe weather and flooding has impacted telecommunications services across Central and Northern Queensland.

On Friday evening, Telstra’s coastal fibre-optic cable that carries much of the state’s communications needs was damaged by severe flooding in the Colosseum area.

This was followed by further damage to a back-up cable north of Harlin late yesterday, which along with a number of power outages, resulted in the loss of  most landline and broadband services in Mackay, Freshwater, Cairns, Rockhampton, Townsville, Mount Isa and Gladstone.

Many 2G, 3G and 4G mobile services throughout Central and Northern Queensland have also been impacted.

In most cases, customers will not be able to make landline calls outside their region, but may still be able to dial locally.  While communications are limited in these areas, Telstra encourages customers with mobile service to use their device in emergency situations only.

It should be noted that the emergency triple zero service is impacted by the damage. If customers are unable to reach triple zero, local emergency services such as police, fire and ambulance stations will be in operation and should be contacted directly where possible. Temporary numbers established by emergency services are provided below.

A repair crew has arrived in Colosseum by helicopter to attempt repairs on the damaged coastal cable and begin restoring services. All restoration efforts will be weather dependant, but the team is in the process of running cable in an attempt to reinstate services. If successful this will not be completed until late Monday afternoon at the earliest.

To date, poor weather conditions and flood levels have prevented technicians accessing the second damaged cable north of Harlin. As the weather clears, technicians will attempt to access the area by helicopter or road with the help of local emergency services to begin works.

In addition to these efforts, work is taking place to restore some services via a link from Darwin. If successful, this would result in some 3G mobile services in the effected region progressively coming online from late Monday afternoon at the earliest.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide the community with updates through our social media channels Telstra on Facebook and Twitter, and via our Service Status page in addition to regular updates to media.

Telstra apologises for the inconvenience to our customers. We are doing everything we can to get customers connected as soon as possible.

Emergency numbers for northern and central Queensland:

  • Cairns 4030 7000
  • Mareeba 4030 3340
  • Townsville 4750 5581 or 4750 5583
  • Mt Isa 4744 1111 or 4744 1808
  • Mackay 4968 3530
  • Gladstone 4971 3222
  • Rockhampton calls will be accepted via alternative carriers only.