Triple Zero Outages In NSW, Victoria And WA After 'Lightning Strike'

A damaged cable in Central West NSW has wreaked havoc for emergency services on Friday morning, with the Triple Zero hotline experiencing "intermittent" services for mobile connections.

What you need to know
  • Triple Zero services still affected in NSW, VIC, SA & WA.
  • Public is being urged to call 000 on first instance, before trying 131 444 if they are unable to get through.
  • Telstra has repaired a damaged cable in Central West NSW.

Significant fire damage caused by a suspected lightning strike is being blamed for throwing emergency services into disarray on Friday morning, after the Triple Zero hotline began to experience outages.

Emergency services were made aware of the issue at about 2am on Friday morning, and began notifying the public at about 4am. Tels

Telstra said a repair crew had completed restorations site at the cable pit east of Orange in NSW's Central West, and services in NSW, VIC, SA & WA would soon return to normal.

A Telstra spokesperson said he could not "guarantee" it was lightning strike, but all evidence and fire damage to the area is consistent with one.

He explained that an unknown fault was triggered in two other cables - that are owned by an international supplier - which should have taken over the workload of the damaged cable.

"Those routers are about 12 months old and so something in the way in which this issue has occurred in the signalling of that has triggered an unknown fault in that and we are getting a patch for that right now," he said.

"But, as I say, most of the calls failed over notwithstanding, but it has had an intermittent impact on a number of customers."

We have redundancy and resiliency built into our system. A lot of the services did fail-over."

NSW Police Assistant Deputy Commissioner Mark Walton said that although the service was still operating, the reliability of it was of "concern", however contingency plans are in place.

"If people can't get through on 000, they're still advised to call the Police Assistance Line on 131 444. Those calls will then be triaged to all the Emergency Services, and I can assure the public that the normal Emergency Services response will occur," he said.

"There's no loss of service in relation to the response by police, ambulance and fire here in New South Wales."

NSW Police said the cause of the widespread failure would be investigated, but admitted Telstra had not provided a technical explanation.

"As soon as we can, we need to determine what the failure is and work with the agencies, work with the communications agencies, to try and resolve and avoid this problem in the future," Walton said.

A Telstra spokesperson  said services "progressively returned to normal", but NSW, Victoria and WA were still experiencing interruptions.

"Routers impacted by the cable cut were restored about 4.50am today and services progressively returned to normal.  A Telstra fibre repair crew has been dispatched," he said.

The public is being urged to still call Triple Zero (000) first, and call 131 444 is they are unable to get through after multiple tries.