Tuesday 20 February 2018

Watchdog wants probe into major Eircom outage

Eircom logo
Eircom logo

Martin Grant

Communications watchdog ComReg will seek an incident report from Eircom into the major outage which caused disruption across the country.

The technical fault discovered yesterday morning resulted in intermittent service impacting customers who use 1800 and 1500 numbers as well as some mobile numbers.

While no emergency services were affected by the fault, several businesses had to implement a crisis management plan.


Children's charity Childline and the ESB said that they were experiencing issues as a result, while Joe Duffy's Liveline 1850 number was also down.

The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources said that they were monitoring the situation and have been liaising with Eircom since the fault was identified.

"ComReg has also been engaging with Eircom on the incident. It is ComReg's practice to seek an incident report from Eircom," a spokeswoman told the Herald last night.

Managing director of Lifeline Ambulance, David Hall, said that the private ambulance firm implemented a contingency plan.

"The phones just didn't ring and certain hospitals had issues. We put our own contingency plan in place and operated staff mobiles.

"Eircom is a frontline service. Without communications, none of the frontline services can operate. It's the silent partner of the other services," Mr Hall told the Herald.

Eircom last night said that services are now stable.

"The root cause of the incident, which impacted approximately 5pc of our daily call volumes, is currently being investigated.

"The outage resulted in intermittent service that impacted businesses which use 1800 and 1500 numbers, as well as some mobile numbers.

"Eircom apologises for any inconvenience caused to our customers."

Eircom added that calls to 999 and 112 have not been affected.

However, the HSE said that call centre staff have been instructed to be extra vigilant.

"The HSE National Ambulance Service operates a number of secondary back up lines in its control centres," a spokeswoman said.

"We have informed control centre staff to be extra vigilant when taking emergency calls and to request a mobile phone number from the caller in the first instance."


The Ambulance Service also operates direct communications with hospitals via the TETRA radio.

The Dublin Fire Brigade said that they received no reports of any issues of people getting through to 112 and 999 numbers.

"We have received no reports of any issues with respect to the 112/999 service.

"In the unlikely event that you can't make a call from a landline, try using a mobile phone," said a spokeswoman.

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