Telstra Is Spending $50M To Fix Its Network

Don’t worry about writing your free download wishlist anytime soon. After three apparently unrelated significant outages this year already, resulting in compensation via two free data days — which saw data download records smashed — Telstra appears to be keen to avoid it happening yet again.

Keen enough to spend $50 million on fixing its network, based on recommendations from the freshly-completed network review the telco started in February.

“The review looked at every aspect of our network, end to end,” Telstra CEO Kate McKenzie confirmed today. “Specifically, the findings identified three key outcomes and actions for us. We’re in the process of implementing these now.”

“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,” McKenzie stated. “This has included increasing redundancy in the nodes, adding more capacity to the core network, introducing new processes and procedures for key network element restarts, and improving resilience in our international connectivity.”

Two of the recent outages were caused by everyone trying to get back onto the network, creating a bottleneck with services eventually being restored progressively. The other was a failure that made voice calls inaccessible to some mobile, IP telephony and NBN voice users in Victoria.

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“We are increasing the sophistication of our network monitoring,” said McKenzie. “We will invest $25 million in additional systems and tools that will help us get better, earlier warnings of traffic patterns that might be a cause for concern.”

Network recovery time will also see an investment, “specifically, reducing the time it takes for lots of customers to re-register or reconnect onto our network at once. This re-registration process is a common challenge for network operators around the world. We will be investing $25 million in this work so that our recovery time will be best in class,” McKenzie said.

Across Telstra’s domestic networks it manages over 500,000 network elements including 170,000 routers and switches, 85,000 mobile cells, power and facilities for 40,000 exchanges and network assets, more than 6 million kilometres of optical fibre cable and 250 million kilometres of copper cable.

“So while no network operator in the world can guarantee that disruptions won’t occur from time to time, what we can do is reduce the likelihood and the impact of those disruptions,” McKenzie stated.

Telstra is anticipating the demand for data and connectivity will continue to rise exponentially, pointing out that its mobile network carries nearly double the amount of traffic than it did two years ago.


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