Update 26 Nov: Telstra Exchange Fire In Warrnambool

Media Release, 27 November 2012

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

Importantly today we have been able to restore approximately 18,000 landlines connected through the Warrnambool exchange. We are pleased that we have been able to reconnect these customers and are carefully monitoring our equipment for stability, as it was extensively damaged in the fire. These services are across the region and we would encourage customers to check for dial tone to see if their service has been restored.

The townships of Dartmore and Bessiebell have all communications services restored, after Telstra was successful in re-routing these services from the Warrnambool exchange to the South Melbourne Exchange. This is in addition to the restoration of the township of Balmoral overnight.

Over 350 ADSL services have now been restored, again these are across the region, not located in a specific geographic area.

To date we have been successful in restoring internet and data services for over 100 large business customers in the area, including a number of banks, medical, utility, government and transport customers.

Services have been restored to payphones, 250 medical priority assistance customers, essential services, and over 450 other priority lines such as retirement homes and schools through connection to two Mobile Exchanges on Wheels (MEOW).

A third MEOW is being sent from Queensland and is expected to arrive in Warrnambool early tomorrow morning.

Mobile service has now been restored to more than 80 per cent of the impacted area. Further mobile network coverage will be restored in Dunkeld and Mt Eskersley this evening with the deployment of Satellite Cells on Wheels (SatCOWs) to these locations.

Efforts to restore all services in the region are ongoing with a team of more than 50 technicians on site carrying out repairs. Technicians are working across two 12 hour shifts to get services restored as quickly as possible.

Overnight technicians will remain focused on restoring transmission cabling and replacing equipment which carries landline telephone services. Work will also be undertaken to restore coverage to customers in a number of townships by re-routing services through other exchanges.

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