In the aftermath of Optus’s devastating outage a fortnight ago, followed by a contentious debate about what precisely caused it, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, Optus’s CEO, has decided to step down. In a declaration issued by Optus’s owner Singtel, Bayer Rosmarin expressed gratitude for the opportunity to clarify the reasons for the network interruption before the Senate. She also ensured Optus’s dedication to regaining trust and maintaining customer service excellence. However, after careful contemplation, she concluded that her resignation would benefit Optus’s future progress.
Bayer Rosmarin has always steered with integrity, prioritizing the welfare of all involved parties. Singtel Group CEO Yuen Kuan Moon expressed sympathy for her choice and wished her well in her forthcoming endeavors. Whether she willingly quit or was nudged out, like so many previous incidents, will likely remain uncertain. The blackout could have been a good enough reason for Singtel to contemplate a new leadership for Optus. However, the evident disagreement between both companies regarding the cause of the outage might have been the breaking point.
In the early hours on Wednesday, after a software upgrade, the Optus network received modified routing information from an international peering network. These changes surged through multiple stages in our system, exceeding safety levels set on key routers, causing them to detach from the Optus IP core network.
The international peering network in question turned out to be Singtel’s very own STiX exchange. Singtel responded by stating that, STiX carries out software enhancements on a routine basis. They had a planned software upgrade, they duly notified all customers including Optus and other telecom companies. While the upgrade was underway, the traffic was redirected to other points on the STiX network and then back to the customers’ networks. However, they dispute the software upgrade as the root cause of Optus’ network outage.
Given these conflicting views, it became untenable for Bayer Rosmarin to continue at the company’s helm. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) seems to agree with that view. If STiX wasn’t at fault, several groups, including the Australian Senate, would like to know precisely what happened. If STiX was indeed the single international peering network to carry out a software upgrade around the time of the outage, either Singtel or Optus must be producing misleading information. Appearance-wise, Singtel had to act as backlash from the outage intensified, but mere replacement of Bayer Rosmarin might not suffice to overcome the impact of this incident.