Tasmanian data services hit by twin Telstra fibre cuts

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Tasmanian data services hit by twin Telstra fibre cuts

Tasmania was largely cut off from internet services on Tuesday due to two separate terrestrial cable cuts.

Internet providers started reporting service disruptions in Hobart and Launceston at around 11.30am, with the impact quickly spreading across the island state.

Telstra said services were restored at 7.05pm AEDST.

Launtel said in an earlier status advisory that “all Tasmanian customers will experience no connectivity due to a major Telstra network outage affecting all ISPs in Tasmania.”

Telstra confirmed in a pair of tweets that its engineering team was working on the problems.

“We believe the issue is a result of two separate cable cuts on the main routes to Tassie,” the telco said.

“000 calls are not impacted, and some voice calls will be getting through.

Telstra technicians said one cable in the Melbourne suburb of Frankston was cut during third-party civil works, resulting in "massive damage" to the cable.

The team was forced to haul and connect "nearly one kilometre of fibre" to get the link operational again.

The second cable issue is understood to be in a land-based location near Boat Harbour in Tasmania. The cause of that break is still unknown.

The issues were not related to cuts to subsea infrastructure between Tasmania and the mainland, which would be much more difficult to fix, although they were still on major routes and affected most fixed and mobile data services.

A Telstra spokesperson said the telco relied on a little-used redundant link to keep emergency calls and some voice traffic moving while repairs were made.

"Our network across the Bass Strait is configured with multiple redundancies, with the two main links providing back up for each other, and a third smaller link being available for priority traffic (such as 000 and voice) on the very rare chance both main links go down. Unfortunately this is what has occurred," the spokesperson said.

"We had crews at the separate sites to repair the cable and get traffic back online. The issues at each site were unrelated.

"There was an impact to ADSL and NBN internet services, some free to air TV and radio stations and mobile data services were quite congested."

Tasmania's department of health said in a social post that "health services in Tasmania are continuing, despite [the] large scale internet outage experienced in the state."

"If anyone requires emergency assistance, they should phone 000, which has not been impacted by the outage," the department said.

"Our hospitals continue to be operational, with continuity plans activated as required."

There were also some reports of issues with payment systems though it was unclear to what extent these were isolated or widespread.

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