Terms of Reference for Optus outage post-incident review

The Albanese Government will undertake a review of what industry, government and the community can learn from the recent Optus outage, with a specific focus on emergency calls, customer communications, and complaints handling.
 
The Terms of Reference released today will provide Optus – and the broader telecommunications industry – the opportunity to proactively address key underlying issues that arose in relation to the network outage, while providing the Government with an evidence base for any potential reforms.
 
The Government has appointed Mr Richard Bean to lead the Review. Mr Bean was the Deputy Chair of the ACMA for over seven years, including a period as the Acting Chair.  He has a long and distinguished history of involvement with the communications sector and is currently serving as an Executive Director for Ad Standards and on the Nominations committee of auDA.
 
The Review will report on and make recommendations regarding: 

  1. The functioning of Triple Zero during the Outage, including whether changes are required to ensure continued access to Triple Zero during outages, as well as the interactions between industry participants and the Triple Zero Service;
  2. The role of Government in managing and responding to national service outages;
  3. The adequacy of requirements for customer communication in national service outages;
  4. The adequacy of how customer complaints and compensation processes performed for consumers and small business following the outage;
  5. The circumstances in which other networks may be relied on to support a network that is subject to a major outage; and
  6. Other telecommunications sector implications, including resilience and interdependencies between telecommunications networks.

The Optus outage impacted approximately 10 million people, causing significant disruption to the ability of Australians to communicate, run small businesses, and left some people unable to call emergency services.
 
The Review will consult widely with industry and consumer stakeholders as well as with Australian Government and state and territory agencies, and will provide a report to Government by 29 February 2024.
 
The independent regulator – the Australian Communications and Media Authority – has commenced an assessment to investigate Optus’ compliance with the existing regulatory framework including with the rules requiring that emergency calls are successfully carried from mobile carriers to the Emergency Call Person (Telstra).
 
For more information, visit www.infrastructure.gov.au/media-communications-arts/phone/review-optus-outage-8-november
 
Quotes attributable to Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:
 
“The recent Optus outage caused significant disruption to the lives of millions of Australians, impacted small businesses, and left many without the ability to contact emergency services
 
“We need to learn the lessons from this serious incident, because no network is immune from technical faults or outages.
 
“The Albanese Government’s post-incident review will help industry identify where its processes need to be strengthened, and provide advice to Government on potential reforms.
 
“Australians expect and deserve better from their communications service providers when these kinds of incidents arise and I would encourage all to have their say – from impacted businesses and industry through to consumers.”