The federal government has launched an official inquiry into the Optus shutdown, slamming the national teleco for poor communication during one of the worst network outages in Australia’s history.

Communication Minister Michelle Rowland announced a post incident review into Optus on Thursday after its entire network collapsed for more than nine hours.

She said a lack of communication left people “desperate” for information and criticised the company for not speaking out earlier.

“This is essential, considering that yesterday some 10 million Optus customers were affected by this mass outage and many millions on top of that, consumers and small businesses alike,” she said.

“I have tasked my department to undertake a review into this. Primarily this is about the lessons learnt and ensuring that the industry overall can make the improvements necessary to mitigate what has happened here from happening again.”

Hospitals, banks, and transport networks were brought to a standstill during the shutdown that Optus executives said was caused by technical network issue. Australia’s Home Affairs department said it had “no indication” that the outage was a result of a cyber-attack incident

Optus CEO Rose Bayer Rosmarin denied claims of poor communication during the 9-hour shutdown, despite the government urging for more transparency from the teleco.

Minister Rowland said large providers like Optus and Telstra had a responsibility to ensure their services were working effectively and flagged an independent investigation from the industry watchdog.

“Clearly, there is great concern to ensure this doesn’t happen in future, but we always want to make sure people are our top priority, keeping them safe, so they have confidence in triple-0,” she said.

The government will begin drafting a terms of reference for a post-incident review which aims to determine how it can assist large telecommunications providers to “improve the post-outrage process.”

Industry watchdog The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has also launched a probe into Optus’ compliance with the rules requiring that emergency calls are successfully carried from mobile carriers to Telstra.

The Greens have pushed to establish a Senate inquiry into the situation, amid concerns the telecommunications providers management had failed to be upfront with the public.

Speaking yesterday, Greens Communications spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said the party will “push to get the answers that are needed” through an inquiry process and called the lack of transparency a “disgrace.”

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