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Queensland Floods - Optus Network Update, 7pm
12 Jan 2011

Optus encourages people to donate to the Premier's Relief Fund - accessible here.

As of 7pm today, whilst there has been some localised impact to the Optus mobile and fixed network, Optus continues to deliver services to the majority of flood affected areas of Queensland and Northern New South Wales.

However, as the flooding situation is changing rapidly, mobile sites and fixed network nodes remain at risk due to power outages which may cause further disruption to fixed and mobile services.

Services are impacted to varying levels in five main areas: the Brisbane CBD; Toowoomba; Lockyer Valley, Ipswich; and Kilcoy regions.

Where possible, we have deployed backup generators in accessible locations throughout the flood affected areas to allow us to respond to power outages.

However, as the flood levels continue to rise and access to affected areas remains restricted, we anticipate more mobile sites may go down if we cannot refuel our backup generators.

Optus engineers continue to closely monitor the network in Queensland to minimise any impact on our customers.

We thank our customers for their continued patience and understanding.

In Brisbane, Optus is now experiencing some disruption to its mobile and fixed network infrastructure in the CBD area due to the power outage. This has affected our Brisbane CBD transmission facility, resulting in the loss of some 2G and 3G mobile services in the area and some business services in the CBD. As network capacity has been prioritised for voice calls and SMS, mobile internet data is also slower than normal. However, partial coverage is still available in the CBD, supplemented by towers in the surrounding area.

In Ipswich, the power outages have impacted some nodes on our HFC network, affecting fixed home phone and internet services to approximately 2,000 residential customers. More network nodes are expected to lose battery power within the next 24 hours.

Mobile services have also been disrupted due to loss of some mobile sites, although partial coverage is available supplemented by towers in the surrounding area.

In Toowoomba and the surrounding area, Optus has two mobile towers at Helidon and Gunters Hill that are currently without power. However limited services are still available as coverage is being supplemented by other towers in the area.

While Optus equipment at the Toowoomba exchange has not been affected, residential and business customers may experience a disruption to fixed services due to flood damage within their premises.

Lockyer Valley
Due to a loss of power at Mt Stradbroke, our mobile towers within the Lockyer Valley ran out of battery power at 9:10 pm local time last night resulting in the loss of all mobile services. We were able access the area this morning to deploy a power generator onsite which has partially restored services at five mobile sites, including Gatton. However, as access to this area is now restricted, we expect services will be intermittent in the next few days as we will not be able to refuel our backup generator. Our priority is to keep services up and running in the Lockyer Valley area as much as possible to assist with the rescue efforts.

Due to the loss of power, the three Optus mobile sites servicing the Kilcoy area have gone down. Subsequently, mobile services in the Kilcoy area are currently unavailable. Optus engineers are presently unable to access the area to deploy portable generators but remain on standby.

Sydney to Brisbane Links
One of our Sydney to Brisbane links has experienced an optical fibre break in the Helidon area due to the floods. However, all protected services have been switched successfully to our coastal link, so residential and business customers have not been impacted.

"We continue to monitor the situation closely. Should customers need to contact emergency services in the event of an Optus mobile service disruption, they can still call 000 from their Optus mobile as they will be switched to the nearest available mobile network," said Clare Gill, General Manager of Optus Government and Corporate Affairs.

"Our thoughts are with all Queenslanders affected by this tragedy. Optus is doing its best to keep the network operational and minimise service disruption in the affected areas."

For information on assistance which Optus is providing, please click here.

Media contact:
Kasia Ciszak /Joshua Drayton
Optus Corporate Affairs
Tel: (02) 8082 7850