Telecom not ruling out compensation for outage

By Matthew Backhouse of APN


Telecom is not ruling out compensation for the tens of thousands of broadband customers who were hit with internet connection issues this morning.

The fault came a day after two significant outages left hundreds of thousands of customers without internet access on Tuesday, and less than a fortnight after an unrelated outage late last month.

Telecom said it had restored broadband to most of its customers by 9.30am today, following connection issues related to two earlier faults which arose during a software upgrade yesterday.

The company ruled out compensation last month after an unrelated fault with a fibre-optic cable on November 30 left about 25,000 mainly residential customers without broadband.

But head of communications Andrew Pirie today said the company would consider compensation for customers affected by the latest issue.

``It has not been ruled out at this point in time, but I wouldn't want to say there is going to be compensation because it is a matter for some consideration,'' he said.

``The first priority has been, within the organisation today, to get people back up and running and to make sure that they keep up and running. That's really the immediate priority right now.''

Asked if compensation would be considered on a case-by-case basis, Mr Pirie said that would be considered later and the priority remained on getting customers up and running.

The company apologised for the inconvenience to affected customers this morning.

Telecom retail chief executive Chris Quin said customers rightly expected a reliable and robust broadband service, given the internet's role as a major communications tool.

``We have a comprehensive review underway to ascertain how these issues can be minimised in the future and apologise unreservedly to customers for any disruption these outages caused in the interim.''

The issue put a strain on the company's call centre, which this morning was experiencing ``higher than normal levels of calls for this time of the day''.

``If you're waiting on hold with us, sorry - we currently have high call volumes,'' Telecom said in a tweet.

The latest broadband woes began early yesterday morning during a software upgrade to Telecom's server in Auckland, which handles more than 300,000 customers - about two thirds of all its broadband users.

Service was restored by 8.15am after connections were redirected to the Christchurch server, which usually runs in parallel with the Auckland server.

Both servers were back up and running yesterday afternoon, but there was a further fault about 9.45pm when the Christchurch server overloaded due to a synchronisation issue.

Service was restored by 11.35pm when the Christchurch server was taken offline, with traffic redirected to the Auckland server.

This morning's problem with intermittent connections was believed to have been caused by the pressure on the single Auckland server.

Telecom brought the Christchurch server back online about 9am today, with 90 per cent of customers reconnected half an hour later.

 

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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