Information update: Telstra Exchange fire in Warrnambool

Media Release, 23 November 2012

The following is an update on Telstra’s efforts to restore communication services in south-western Victoria following yesterday’s fire that partially destroyed Telstra’s exchange building in Warrnambool and impacted customer landline, broadband, mobile and radio services across the region. 

Emergency 000 calls on mobile are working, though should only be used for urgent assistance.

Telstra technicians have worked through the night to restore mobile service in Port Campbell, Portland, Hamilton, Dartmore, Colraine, Edenhope, Port Fairy, Mt Kincaid and Mt Clay. Technicians are working at patching the remaining impacted base stations through the Geelong or Ballarat exchanges. Mobile voice calls can now be made in North Warrnambool, but mobile data is not available at this time.

In addition, Telstra has deployed ten Satellite Cells on Wheels (SatCoWs) which will help to provide interim mobile services in the region. A number of these have been flown down from Sydney. The SatCOW equipment will be used to provide mobile network coverage to the main part of the township.

Two mobile exchanges have also been deployed to help restore landline and data services for emergency and essential services.

Although the exchange site is now secure and power has been restored, the extensive damage and technical nature of the work means we anticipate a number of days before all normal services are restored. A key priority is to restore ATM and EFTPOS facilities which remain largely affected.

The extent of the damage to the exchange can be seen here on the Telstra Corp Flickr.

Telstra is hosting community meetings in Warrnambool, Portland, Hamilton and Camperdown at 2pm today to provide residents with updates on the situation. Telstra is also distributing interim phones (satellite or mobile) to customers based on medical priority.

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