Australia’s second-largest telecommunications provider, Optus, has left millions without phone or internet and the country in chaos due to a nationwide outage Wednesday. The Australian Financial Review reports that the provider, whose services are considered national critical infrastructure, has not provided an explanation as to what is causing the outage which is ongoing at the time of publishing.
This has been reported as “one of the biggest outages in Australian history” by Daily Mail and is impacting public transportation as well as hospitals.
A spokesman for Optus stated: “Optus is aware of an issue that may be impacting some of our mobile and internet customers. We are currently working to identify the cause and apologise for any inconvenience. In case of an emergency, customers can still call 000.”
Users, primarily in Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, the ACT, Tasmania and Adelaide are reporting they are unable to make non-emergency calls or texts.
In Melbourne, commuters are stranded as the train network, which uses Optus for communication, has been shut down. Many Uber drivers are also unable to operate which has led to surging prices.
Hospitals are also being impacted including Melbourne's Northern Health District and Sydney's Westmead Private Hospital.
“All phone lines into Northern Health campuses are currently being affected by an Optus outage,” said the Melbourne hospital.
“This includes phone lines into Northern Hospital Epping, Broadmeadows Hospital, Bundoora Centre, Craigieburn Centre, Kilmore District Hospital, and Victorian Virtual Emergency Department (VVED). We apologise for any inconvenience.”
The Sydney hospital stated: “Due to the national outage of Optus all our phone lines are unfortunately down, to contact the hospital, please email us on admissions.”
A caretaker in Melbourne reported to ABC Radio Melbourne that they were unable to call an ambulance after a patient went into cardiac arrest.
“I had to run out on the street and borrow a phone from someone walking his dog,” they said.