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Conroy launches inquiry into Telstra's Warrnambool fire

The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy will carry out an inquiry looking into the cause of the fire and resulting damage.

An inquiry has been launched into the fire at a Telstra exchange in Warrnambool, Victoria, which cut off the telco’s fixed line network to 60,000 residents.

A fire on 22 November damaged around 60 per cent of Telstra’s exchange.

“I understand the frustration felt by the people and businesses that have been left without a phone and other services…” Senator Stephen Conroy, Communications Minister, said in a statement.

“A fire of this type is infrequent, but given how important telecommunications infrastructure is for the day-to-day lives of all Australians, an inquiry is appropriate.”

The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy will carry out the inquiry and will look at the cause of the fire and resulting damage; fire prevention and mitigation strategies; the restoration of services; and disaster recovery plans.

A public forum will also be held to gauge the impact of the fire on the community.

“I want to hear the views of the affected communities and relevant experts to ensure that disaster mitigation and service recovery plans are as effective as possible if similar events were to occur in the future,” Conroy said.

While Telstra has restored mobile coverage to most of the region, with 35 out of 41 mobile base stations now working again, 43 per cent of landline customers are still without service.

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