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Queensland Floods: Optus increases customer service staffing and hours of operation to support impacted customers
16 Jan 2011

With water levels now receding in the flood affected areas of Queensland and the Optus network largely operational, Optus has turned its focus to helping restore services to customers whose property or business was impacted by the floods.

From this weekend, Optus will be extending the hours of operation across its consumer, small and medium business, government and corporate business and wholesale customer service centres to provide assistance for the people of Queensland as they return home or to work over the coming days and weeks.

Optus has deployed an additional 250 employees in its call centres to help customers with queries relating to the restoration of services and general enquiries. In addition, Optus has brought in field technicians from interstate to help restore services on the ground in Queensland.

For customers who have lost or damaged their mobile handset as a result of the floods, Optus has increased stock levels of loan phones which will be available from Optus Yes Shops in flood affected areas from later this week.

This is in addition to the 1,500 pre-paid Optus mobile handsets loaded with $1,000 of credit which are being distributed in Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Brisbane and Toowoomba at various locations to assist people who have lost access to telecommunications services, with support from Red Cross.

Optus' customer assistance package also includes extended timeframes for bill payment; bill waiver in instances of extreme financial hardship on a case by case basis; free call diversion from an Optus fixed home phone to any mobile or fixed number; and no service reconnection fees within the next 12 months.

Clare Gill, General Manager, Optus Government and Corporate Affairs said, "With our network now almost fully operational, we've turned our attention to helping customers during this difficult time of rebuilding their lives. For those customers who have lost services due to the floods, we will endeavour to provide them with a temporary alternative solution such as a loan phone or prepaid mobile broadband service while we repair their handset or restore their home service.

"We understand this is a difficult time for many of our customers in Queensland and urge affected customers to contact us if they have any concerns relating to their Optus service."

Optus network largely operational; Sydney to Brisbane inland link restored
As of 11.00am on Sunday 16 January, the Optus fixed and mobile network is largely back to normal service levels in flood affected areas, with impact localised to parts of Brisbane, Ipswich and areas around Rochedale and Kelvingrove. Overnight Optus engineers also repaired the optical fibre break on our Sydney to Brisbane inland link, which has now been restored to normal operational levels.

In South Brisbane and the CBD, mobile coverage is still available in most areas as coverage overlap has mitigated the loss of individual base stations. Some business services in the Brisbane CBD will remain disrupted while we assess the extent of the damage to our fixed infrastructure.

In parts of Ipswich, Rochedale and Kelvingrove, our HFC network remains partially disrupted with some nodes still impacted by the power outage and water damage. This is affecting fixed home phone and internet services to some customers in those areas. We expect services to return to normal as soon as mains power is restored and any water damaged equipment replaced.

"Optus' priority is to return to normal service levels as quickly as possible in affected areas as power availability improves and access to buildings granted so our engineers can inspect any damaged equipment," Clare Gill said.

"We continue to deploy additional resources to Queensland from Melbourne and Sydney to ensure the needs of the recovery can be supported, and already have field technicians on the ground working to replace equipment damaged by water. While we hope to restore most fixed and mobile services within the next week, until we are able to gain access to all our affected sites, the full extent of the damage to our infrastructure will not be known and some sites will take longer to restore.

"As we enter the rebuild phase and start planning for reconnecting customers, we encourage anyone doing below the ground work to follow the 'dial before you dig' procedures by dialling 1100 to ensure that critical infrastructure remains protected."

Media contact:
Kasia Ciszak/Liz Greene
Optus Corporate Affairs
Tel: (02) 8082 7850

* Extended opening hours of Optus customer care centres for customers impacted by Queensland floods

Personal

Service Telephone Standard hours of operation Extended hours of operation (AEST)
General enquiries 133 937 8.00am – 7.00pm, Monday to Friday
9.00am – 5.00pm, Saturday
8.00am – 10.00pm, Monday to Friday
9.00am – 10.00pm, Saturday
9.00am – 5.00pm, Sunday

Small and Medium Business

Service Telephone Standard hours of operation Extended hours of operation (AEST)
General enquiries 133 343 8.00am – 7.00pm, Monday to Friday
9.00am – 5.00pm, Saturday
8.00am – 10.00pm, Monday to Friday
9.00am – 10.00pm, Saturday
9.00am – 5.00pm, Sunday

Government and Corporate Business

Service Telephone Standard hours of operation Extended hours of operation (AEST)
Mobile Customer Service 1300 133 334 8.00am – 7.00pm, Monday to Friday 8.00am – 7.00pm, Monday to Friday
9.00am – 5.00pm,
Saturday and Sunday
Support/Technical – Mobile/converged 1800 200 487 24x7 24x7 (with additional staffing)
Support/Technical – Data/voice 1300 300 332 24x7 24x7 (with additional staffing)

Optus Wholesale

Service Telephone Standard hours of operation Extended hours of operation (AEST)
Wholesale Mobile Customer Care 1300 300 221 (option 2) or 1300 302 498 (option 2) 8.00am – 8.00pm, Monday to Friday
10.00am – 6.00pm
Saturday
24x7
Wholesale Residential Broadband and Telephony Customer Fault Management 1300 300 221
(option 7)
7.00am – 11.00pm, Monday to Sunday
11.00pm – 7.00am,
On-call support
24x7
Wholesale Service Desk (Wireline Network) 1300 300 221 (option 3) 24x7 24x7