Optus’ Bayer Rosmarin: “Our Systems Are Actually Very Stable”

Melbourne Australia - August 23, 2014: People shop at Optus shop on Burke st Melbourne, the second largest telecommunications company in Australia.

Optus has blamed “changes to routing information” after a “routine software upgrade” for last week’s nationwide outage that affected 10.2 million Australians and 400,000 businesses.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Optus said that around 4:05 am (AEDT) last Wednesday, its network was affected by “changes to routing information from an international peering network… following a routine software upgrade”.

(AAP: Dean Lewins)

“These routing information changes propagated through multiple layers in our network and exceeded preset safety levels on key routers which could not handle these,” the company said. “This resulted in those routers disconnecting from the Optus IP Core network to protect themselves”.

The comments from Optus are in direct opposition to those made by Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, who suggested it was “highly unlikely” that the outage resulted from a software upgrade.

Prior to the release of the statement from Optus, experts theorised the outage was likely a regular software upgrade gone wrong. “The problem is too widespread to be due to a cable break or equipment failure,” said Tom Worthington, a senior lecturer in computer science from the Australian National University in Canberra.

When these theories were put to Bayer Rosmarin, she rejected the suggestions. “It’s highly unlikely, our systems are actually very stable,” she told ABC Radio Sydney last Wednesday morning.

“We provide great coverage to customers; this is a very, very rare occurrence,” she said.

At the time of the outage, Bayer Rosmarin told The Australian: “We’ve been extremely forthcoming with information, and we’ve put a notice out straight away. We’ve kept our messaging very simple and easy to digest”.

“As a critical infrastructure provider, we aim to give our customers a service that works 100 per cent of the time every day of the year, 24/7, and on most days we succeed,” she said.

Optus is now facing several inquiries and investigations due to the outage, including a Senate inquiry that will hold its first public hearings on Friday. Bayer Rosmarin is currently the only witness to confirm her attendance.

In a statement released by Optus, the telco confirmed that it supports and will “fully cooperate” with the reviews being done by the government and the Senate.

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