news The nation’s biggest telco Telstra today revealed it would plough a combined $50 million of funding into initiatives designed to stop it from suffering future major mobile network outages of the type that it has suffered over the past several months.
Over the past several months, Telstra has suffered several major outages in its mobile network that left millions of customers temporarily without mobile access. The outages represented an unusual situation for the telco, which has historically had some of the best mobile reliability in Australia.
Telstra has offered several free data download days to its customers in order to smooth over the problems.
In a statement this morning, the big T said it had completed a review undertaken into the disruptions, carried out by Telstra’s specialist teams as well as “global experts” from Ericsson, Juniper and Cisco, and an independent adviser, global telecommunications executive Dave Williams from Tech Mahindra.
Chief operations officer Kate McKenzie said the review had identified three key outcomes, with a number of recommendations now being implemented.
“The first outcome is that we have confirmed the root causes of those disruptions and implemented a range of steps to significantly reduce the likelihood of these issues happening again,” said McKenzie.
McKenzie said this included increasing redundancy in Telstra’s mobile ‘nodes’, adding more capacity to the core network, introducing new processes and procedures for key network element restarts and improving resilience in Telstra’s international connectivity.
The executive said the second outcome related to increased investment in Telstra’s network monitoring and tools.
“In any highly sophisticated world class network like ours there will always be disruptions which is why we use sophisticated tools to help us better detect issues and allow stronger monitoring. We are going to make even further investments in this area to take advantage of some of the most cutting edge technology becoming available,” she said.
“We will be specifically introducing more real time traffic monitoring along with more real time customer impact reporting. This will assist in getting better early warning of any traffic patterns in the network that might be a cause for concern.”
McKenzie said Telstra would be spending around $25 million on installing this monitoring equipment.
The final action relates to improving Telstra’s recovery time for customers to set new global benchmarks.
“This is an incredibly large and sophisticated network and we can never give a guarantee that disruptions won’t occur from time to time. While our focus on the highest levels of reliability will continue to be relentless, we will also focus on being a world leader in the time to recovery when the unexpected happens,” McKenzie said.
“Essentially when a disruption occurs mobile users need to be re-registered or reconnected back onto the network. When large numbers of mobiles are trying to reconnect at the same time there can be a delay in people being able to access the network. This is a common challenge for networks around the world – to ensure there is enough capacity in the network so that those reconnections take as little time as possible.”
“As a result, we are investing an additional $25 million increasing our capacity to handle a large number of re-registrations occurring simultaneously.”
“What this means is that in the event of a disconnection, a much larger number of customers will be able to re-register at the same time so any disruption to services will be of a much shorter duration.”
Necessary steps from Telstra. Let’s hope they curtail these problems in future.
Image credit: Telstra