Telstra techs face second fire-damaged exchange

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Telstra techs face second fire-damaged exchange

Kangaroo Island fire 'destroys' telecommunications facility.

Telstra has been left with its second scorched exchange in three months after a bushfire swept across part of Kangaroo Island yesterday.

South Australia's Country Fire Service (CFS) said the fire at Cygnet River "destroyed the local telephone exchange", farm equipment and brought down power lines.

Telstra itself reported that the building had sustained significant damage, "disrupting landline, broadband and mobile services across Kangaroo Island".

"The Cygnet River Exchange is a transmission interconnection point," the telco tweeted.

"Investigations have indicated the structure and some exchange equip[ment] has been severely damaged by the fire and smoke".

"We're working closely with the CFS to secure the site and ensure it is safe for techs to enter".

Telstra noted it had sent a fibre repair crew to the site to work "on a bypass cable" around the affected exchange, meaning backhaul could be live again by as early as tonight.

Temporary landline restoration is somewhat dependent on the arrival of a Mobile Exchange On Wheels (MEOW) from Sydney, the telco noted.

No estimates were given for the restoration of services in service status notifications posted to the Telstra website.

Damage to the Cygnet River exchange comes less than three months after a fire at Victoria's Warrnambool exchange caused widespread issues for residents in that state's south-west.

The Warrnambool fire damaged about 60 percent of the exchange, and left customers without internet and landline phone services for over 10 days on average.

That fire event is now subject to a federal inquiry which, judging by submissions, will examine Telstra's restoration methodologies and back-up arrangements for exchanges, which are effectively large single points of failure.

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