Telstra: Different day, different outage problem
UPDATE 9.30am, May 20: SOME Telstra services are out again and reports are that it is affecting ADSL and NBN services nation-wide.
A Telstra spokesperson said all the issues related to yesterday's malicious damage to two fibre optic cables and their backup links had been resolved.
"Please note the issue yesterday as a result of the cable damage near Taree was resolved for all customers last night," he said.
"Customers with NBN voice and data services and ADSL services may be having difficulty connecting to the Internet..
"The issue commenced early this morning and is impacting NBN-based services and a small number of ADSL services. Services are in the process of being restored.
"We apologise to customers and are doing everything possible to restore services as quickly as possible."
UPDATE 4.30pm: POLICE have confirmed a 12-year-old boy was arrested today over lighting a fire in a Telstra pit at Taree that led to a widespread network outage impacting thousands of customers.
A NSW police spokeswoman said the boy from Taree was arrested today over the fire which was allegedly lit last night.
"He will be dealt with under the young offenders act," the spokeswoman said.
The fire destroyed two fibre-optic cables, impacting customers from Taree to Kingscliff, according to Telstra.
UPDATE 2pm: TELSTRA'S Northern Region NSW Area Manager, Mike Marom said this most recent data outage was regrettable and difficult to control.
"Two fibre cables and their backup links were destroyed and then set fire to," he said.
"There was a significant amount of impact in the Taree and Foster areas and even reports from as far away as Lismore and Kingscliff.
"The good news is our crews were able to start work on restricting the damage at 8.30pm last night.
"We would expect the majority of services will be up and running by the end of the day."
Mr Marom said ADSL, mobility and voice services, including Southern Cross Ten were all affected.
"We haven't identified any medical priority customers affected," he said.
"The emergency 000 is reliant and will work on any network."
Mr Marom said security protocols were in place on their infrastructure with locks and barriers.
"This particular pit is sizeable and has plenty of security but if people are persistent, there is little you can do to protect it," he said.
"We would ask that if anyone knows who the culprits may be, to please contact the police authorities."
Mr Marom said there were thousands of fault reports last night, which is their biggest judgement of impact.
"I would say the number of people affected would be well into the thousands," he said.
UPDATE 10.30am: WIDESPREAD internet outages played havoc for businesses across the Northern Rivers last night, hitting take away stores, convenience shops, and restaurants.
While big businesses like Coles, Woolworths, and Macdonalds were spared from the dropout due to their dedicated internet services, it was small family businesses which suffered.
The franchisee of Goonellabah's Pizza Capers, Nathan Stanborough, said the business lost all its online orders, which usually make up 10-15% of revenue.
"Any orders people were trying to do online, we lost those last night," Mr Stanborough said.
"We're still assessing the damage.
"Some people just don't want to call the store… (so) if our online's not working they just go elsewhere."
"It's put a big kink in the works… the biggest thing for us is trying to figure out how many orders we lost.
"Our point of sale system is also internet based… if we don't have the internet our whole system gets thrown out of whack."
A staff member at a local IGA supermarket said staff experienced a slew of frustrated customers who couldn't pay by card or use their ATM machine to get cash out.
"A lot of people only carry cards so they either couldn't buy anything or went somewhere else," he said.
The problem continued this morning, when the shop's internet system had to be reset.
"One customer blew up at me this morning," the staff member said.
"She wanted the ATM.
"I had to reset everything and everything was then working."
What Telstra say to date
"There are still areas affected and they will be brought back online throughout the day," a Telstra spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said the damage is centred around Taree although different areas have been affected due to the way the fibres have been damaged throughout the network.
What our readers say
DIFFERENT aspects of people's lives were affected last night from online study and uni lectures, to phone calls, internet tv and even bill payments.
"Trying to do off campus university. Internet issues make that impossible," posted Tanya Swadling.
"Daughter doing her HSC with an assignment due today,again Internet issues made that impossible."
"My phone, broadband and tv channels were down last night," wrote Tia Torrisi.
Some were a little more light-hearted about it.
"Yes I was, it was horrible. I was forced to talk in person to the other people in my house and put down my phone," wrote Tim Walsh
"I am still recovering from the emotional torment. This has to stop."
UPDATE 8.30am: DAMAGE to some Telstra lines near Taree are the main instigators for last night's widespread outage.
"We are aware of an issue beginning overnight that is impacting some fixed line and ADSL services in the Lismore area," a Telstra spokesperson said.
"Our fibre crew has identified two cables in a common access pit that appear to have been intentionally damaged by a third party.
"NSW Police were called to the site overnight and are investigating.
"Our crew waited for Fire and Rescue NSW to declare the site safe before commencing repairs to the cables.
"Given the extent of the damage, our crew has been working through the night to access and repair the cables and hope to restore services as soon as possible."
Our readers have shared their experiences on Facebook.
"Ours is still out in Bexhill ! Not happy," Kath Moonflower posted.
"Everyone trying to get assignments done and handed in impossible."
"Looks like no bills are going to get paid today," Lee Buys wrote.
Helen Drew wrote at 8.40am that she still had no connection.
INITIAL: WERE you without any mobile communications last night?
Another possible outage across the Northern Rivers saw users vent their anger, where they were able, onto social media.
"Our ADSL and mobiles were out for an hour and a half approx," wrote one disgruntled user on Facebook.
Customers complained of outages with wifi and mobiles and interruptions to favourite TV series they were obviously watching on their devices.
The outage seemed to go for a couple of hours and affected areas in Woodburn, Lismore, Byron Bay and the major capital cities.
Telstra have been contacted for a statement.