Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Orange France under fire for mishandling network outage

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Thursday 22 July 21

The network disruption that took place at the start of last month lasted several hours, leaving customers unable to contact emergency services

A French government report released today has been critical of Orange’s handing of its June 2nd network outage, saying that the company could have resolved the issue more efficiently. The outage saw Orange voice services disrupted on a national level between 16:45pm and midnight, during which around 11…

A French government report released today has been critical of Orange’s handing of its June 2nd network outage, saying that the company could have resolved the issue more efficiently.

The outage saw Orange voice services disrupted on a national level between 16:45pm and midnight, during which around 11,800 calls to emergency services were observed. Around 20% of calls to emergency services failed on average, leaving authorities to rapidly implement alternative emergency numbers, publicised across social media.

Orange’s internal investigation showed that a software malfunction was to blame for the outage, something which today’s government report now confirms.

The report is broadly critical of Orange’s sluggish response to the outage, highlighting a lack of specific national oversight by the operator when it came to emergency calls. 

“It's clear from the report that there were shortcomings on the part of the company,” said France's minister for digital affairs, Cedric O.

The French regulator, Arcep, will reportedly investigate the incident itself in the coming days and decide if any action needs to be taken. 

O, meanwhile, has called for the regulatory framework surrounding emergency calls to be reinforced, with regular crisis exercises to be introduced. 

Orange has apologised once again, emphasising its commitment to network reliability and especially for the management of emergency communications. 

“Orange is committed to reviewing its processes and organization, in collaboration with state services, over the management of emergency phone numbers,” said the company in a statement.

In related news, it has recently come to light that Orange has formally expressed interest in acquiring the 40% stake soon to be made available in Ethiopia’s incumbent operator, Ethio Telecom. The decision comes after Orange declined to bid for one of the two new telco licences recently made available by the Ethiopian regulator as the company liberalises its telecoms sector.

 

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