The Queensland floods have caused extensive damage to Australia's telecom infrastructure, with Telstra alone reportedly facing a repair bill of up to A$50 million (€37 million).
While Telstra has said it will not be able to assess the full cost of repairs until flood waters finally recede, Merrill Lynch has estimated that it could cost up to A$50 million based on the repair costs after bush fires in Victoria in 2009, The Australian reported.
Weeks of flooding in Queensland took a severe turn for the worse this week, causing service disruptions for Australian operators and ISPs.
Some areas of Queensland may be without telecom services for up to 18 days, The Australian said, with Telstra and Optus estimating it could take three months to completely fix and replace all the affected equipment.
Telstra revealed yesterday that restoration work is being hindered by the fact that 262 of the operators' exchanges were in areas that remained “red zones,” inaccessible to engineers, however its workers are primed to move in whenever it becomes safe to do so.
Rival Optus has identified at least five exchanges that will need to be completely rebuilt, and says mobile services remain unavailable in some regions, with mobile and fixed services disrupted in the Brisbane CBD.
“Until we are able to gain access to all our affected sites, the full extent of the damage to our infrastructure will not be known,” Optus general manager for corporate affairs Clare Gill said. “We have assembled a senior management recovery team which is now focused on the recovery effort.”
A fiber link between Sydney and Brisbane was also cut, affecting services from Optus subsidiary AAPT.