It turns out that the Telstra outages on May 4th and 21 weren't bad for everyone. In fact, they resulted in the failure of electronic ankle bracelets used to track criminals criminals across Queensland and the Northern Territory, as well as people out on parole or bail in South Australia.
While this week's outage only caused a loss in connectivity for a couple of hours in South Australia (affecting 750 individuals with electronic tracking in the state) - the May 4 incident took four days to be rectified in the Northern Territory.
"At 8:10am Friday, 4 May 2018, there were approximately 85 electronic monitoring devices identified as having unresolved communication issues and by 11:30am, 23 had been resolved. By Saturday 5 May, only 7 remained unresolved," a spokesperson from the NT Correctional Services told the NT News.
The NT Correctional Services website states that electronic monitoring is used to monitor people on home detention or curfew, as well as people who are restricted from certain areas such as parks and schools.
The May 4 outage affected 85 electronic bracelets across the territory.
Queensland Correctional Services also commented on the outage, which caused the failure of 299 electronic tags across the state, including sex offenders. A spokesperson told the ABC that, "QCS immediately put contingency processes into place to ensure public safety, and escalated the incident to the service provider for priority resolution."
They also stated that there would have been no way for offenders to know that their electronic tags weren't working.
There have been no reports on any issues or incidents occurring due to the electronic tracking device's failing to work in any of the impacted states and territories.
In regards to the May 21 outage, Telstra has blamed a software fault which resulted in multiple element failures across the network. Despite having standby hardware in place for such occurrences, the telco has stated that a further fault caused an interruption with impacted 4G connections.
Telstra has certainly been having a tough time of it lately. One has to wonder what is going on when there are such frequent software failures. Not to mention that a lightening strike in NSW was able to not only affect these electronic monitoring systems, but also impact on calls to emergency services in multiple states.
'.Early this morning a Telstra cable was damaged, which has resulted in intermittent outages to the triple 0 emergency number across NSW, Victoria And Western Australia Queensland has also reported some issues on the Sunshine Coast, but that it was not widespread. This has resulted in service interruptions to the police, ambulance and fire brigade..'