Triple Zero disclosure by Optus

Today, Optus advised the Government that information it previously provided to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA), the Senate and the public about the number of unsuccessful Triple Zero calls from mobiles during its nationwide outage on 8 November 2023 was not accurate.

Optus previously disclosed that only 229 calls from mobiles to Triple Zero did not reach the Emergency Call Person (Telstra). Advice provided by the company now suggests this figure is at least 2,697 calls.

This is a deeply concerning development given the critical importance of the Triple Zero service.

Optus has advised it will commence a process to contact impacted customers and the Government has conveyed its expectation this occur expeditiously.

This new information will be considered by the ACMA as part of its independent investigation into Optus’ compliance with the Telecommunications (Emergency Call Provider) Determination 2019.

The Government also announced a Post-Incident Review on 9 November 2023 to ensure industry and government capture lessons from the outage and implement improvements.

The Terms of Reference go specifically to issues around the operation and performance of Triple Zero. The Review is being led by Mr Richard Bean and will report to Government by 29 February.

Optus’s activation of network wilting protocols, where signals from mobile towers are powered down in order for Triple Zero calls to be carried by other networks, will be a focus area for the post-incident review, particularly for 3G signals.

The full Terms of Reference are available here: www.infrastructure.gov.au/media-communications-arts/phone/review-optus-outage-8-november/terms-reference-review-optus-outage-8-november-2023.