Update 27 Nov (AM): 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. 

The townships of Lismore, Macarthur, Peterborough, Wandovale, Brucknell, Grassmere, Kariah and Pricetown 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 townships of Balmoral, Dartmore and Bessiebell yesterday.

With the restoration of approximately 18,000 landlines connected through the Warrnambool exchange yesterday this brings the number of landlines reconnected to approximately 19,000. 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.

Overnight we were able to restore internet and data services for another 20 large business customers, which brings the total restored to over 120 to date including a number of banks, medical, utility, government and transport customers.

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

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 was sent from Queensland and will be sent to the town Hamilton. Services will be connected to this on a priority basis.

Mobile service has now been restored to more than 80 per cent of the impacted area. 2G mobile service has now been restored to Nirranda South.  

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.

Today our focus is on efforts to restore the large towns of Portland and Hamilton, through re-routing services from the Warrnambool exchange to the South Melbourne exchange. We also continue to focus on re-establishing transmission links at the Warrnambool exchange.

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