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Byron Shire
April 22, 2024

Communications blackout hits Far North Coast

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Twenty-four hours ago you wouldn’t have been reading this post as thousands of phone and internet customers across the region, including The Echo, struggled and continue to have difficulty, communicating via 21st-century technology.

Every high point in the area including the Ocean Shores lookout, the Pat Morton Lookout at Lennox Head and the St Helena lookout and other elevated places were clogged with cars as people jockeyed for a place to call or text, some even had lap-tops in the hope of getting work done.

For the first time in almost 11 years, The Echo did not publish their weekday edition.

67,000 comms ‘stranded’

The number of homes and businesses impacted by outages on the nbn network across Northern NSW rose to around 67,000.

More than 56,000 homes and businesses are currently impacted due to a power outage at a Fibre Access Node in Woodburn, which provides fixed-line services to homes and business in Tweed Heads, Kingscliff, Currumbin Valley, Byron Bay, Brunswick Heads, Ballina, Lennox Head and Evans Head.

This site had been running on battery power, however the battery has been exhausted.

Owing to floodwaters, it is not possible to access the site safely. The site is owned and operated by a third party and nbn spokesperson says the company is continuing to work closely with them to restore services as soon as it is safe.

The remaining impacted customers (approximately 11,000) are around the Lismore and Ballina areas. This number has increased from approximately 6,000 yesterday.

nbn says they have generators on standby to support connectivity once they are able to access these areas.

‘We will also work to restore the remaining services in this area as soon as possible,’ sais a spokesperson. ‘However, this may take some time owing to floodwaters still making site access difficult and unsafe in some areas.’


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  1. This is a pathetic piece of planning… and why aren’t we allowed to know who this “third party” is that holds the control of all our internet access?

  2. it is nice to know that monopolising the connectivity network has such a positive effect on its functioning.
    & why the hell did it fail during a flood in the first place?
    just construct to conditions!

  3. Important questions. Why the failure? What will be done to prevent internet and phone loss in the next natural disaster? I was in a boat in Lismore floods looking for people needing rescue. We used Google maps to find our way to addresses where people were potentially trapped. If the internet was not available at that time, many people may not have been rescued. We would have needed a printed map of Lismore and how many of those do people have these days? Internet is essential now.

    • People did die and were injured , who knows if they could or couldn’t use their phone to contact for help which is what most people would do, which is the difference between living or not.

  4. Internet is one question. But my Telstra mobile phone connection has not worked dependably or at all for the past few days in Ballina (in addition to the nbn being down). Presumably, the flooding affected Telstra services too. That meant two separate, main communication channels were down at the same time where at least one might have been a backup for the other.

    • Right on Frank , Poorly planned communication and data services , Woodburn in a known fact flood zone area and pass the buck to whoever the phantom third party property owner , does that mean the nbn network isn’t responsible for the service they get millions of dollars by paying customers ? Oh sorry we had a battery backup but it was also flooded in the swamp land site we rent from a phantom third party .

  5. And the worst thing is that, due to internet and mobile being down, I’ve now lost my 100% successful run for the last 30 or 40 days on Wordle! 😐

  6. That’s right, everything should be constructed to withstand record flood levels; then you would be able to whinge about the exhorbitant cost of the service. OMG you have to go without internet for a few hours, you poor things. Bet you would never even consider sparing a thought for those who have lost everything. No room for such sentiment in your self-centred misery.

  7. If they had simply installed enough solar panels to charge those batteries there would be no issue. I one would need to get there to access the site and hook up generators. These fibre nodes should be completely autonomous and self sufficient in a natural disaster. Poor design if your ask me.

  8. The joke is we got NBN. The old phone line was reliable as you could still call people with no electricity.

    I mean yeah good going attempting to make our internet faster (which is a joke in itself) but now due to this as soon as we have no electricity we can’t use the phone anymore…
    And now this natural disaster! It’s been terrific for emergencies!

  9. I’m in Byron. It’s now Saturday night. We’ve had no internet since Tuesday. Rarely any phone use via Telstra even using data. Without any means of contact I had friends driving from Lennox to see if I was alright. Oh yes, Telstra hasn’t been able to my land line working for years.


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