The CEO of Optus, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, is refusing to step down despite facing intense scrutiny over a massive telco outage that left more than 10 million customers in Australia without service. The outage, which lasted from 4am to 5.30pm, impacted the entire Optus network and caused significant disruptions for individuals and businesses alike. This incident comes just a year after the company faced severe backlash due to a data breach affecting 10 million customers.
Despite the outrage from affected customers and the wider community, Rosmarin remains determined to remain in her top executive role. When pressed about whether compensation would be provided to customers and businesses affected by the outage, Rosmarin promised to assess the situation and consider the appropriate measures to demonstrate value to their customers. She personally apologized for the outage, particularly for the disruption it caused to landline phones, preventing customers from calling emergency services.
The telco outage had severe consequences for businesses across the country, with EFTPOS machines unable to connect to the internet, hindering payment processes and hampering daily trading activities. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed concerns about the impact on small businesses, which heavily rely on Optus for their daily operations. Many cafes, for example, reported losing up to 95% of their business as customers were unable to make cashless payments.
In addition to the economic consequences, the outage also affected essential services such as the Melbourne train system, which was brought to a halt for most of the day. Commuters were forced to seek alternative transportation options, further exacerbating discomfort and inconvenience. Other impacted services included Service NSW, Virgin Airline's call center, and the poison hotline.
As customers experienced frustration and a lack of answers, rival telco providers saw an influx of customers seeking to switch networks in response to the service disruption. Optus stores faced angry customers demanding explanations, with incidents escalating to the point where police had to be called.
While the root cause of the outage remains unclear, the Communications Minister has ruled out a cyber attack as the reason behind this latest incident. The New South Wales Premier, Chris Minns, has called for Optus to provide an explanation for the disruption.
Overall, the refusal of the Optus CEO to step down amidst this major outage has raised questions about the company's commitment to its customers and their satisfaction. The incident has highlighted the vulnerability of essential services heavily reliant on telecommunications networks and the need for reliable contingency plans to minimize the impact of such outages.