Melbourne blackout cripples internet nationally

The outage at the Primus data centre in 55 King St Melbourne on Sunday afternoon caused numerous ISPs to have major data flow issues nationally.

The centre’s emergency diesel generator also failed to operate leaving ISPs in the position of only having the centre’s bank of batteries able to feed them for a short period.

One of the affected ISPs Westnet issued the concise statement: “Fault identified as a failure of primary secondary and redundant power systems to a core facility in Melbourne.”

iiNet’s entire VoIP telephony network was down for hours in NSW QLD VIC and SA with WA customers still having VoIP but unable to call other VoIP customers these states.

iiNet’s ADSL customers were also fully disconnected from the internet in VIC and TAS due to the outage and even backup dial-up accounts weren’t working in most states. 

All the ISPs affected were sharing data through the PIPE internet exchange. PIPE Networks CEO Bevan Slattery issued the following statement:

“There has been a major power outage at the Primus Datacentre in Melbourne at 55 King Street. All power was lost. PIPE has a private suite at this facility which also provide colo for some of our ISP clients. Obviously they lost services along with some of our core routing and switching equipment (we have diversity and numerous core switching equipment in other facilities). At the time of the outage our own UPS in our suite kicked in. This provided time for the generators to kick in. However Primus advised that for an unknown reason the primary and secondary generators did not start.

“PIPE’s own UPS battery back-up depleted over time and our private suite lost power. We have been notified by Primus that the secondary generator was manually started and is now operational. Power to our suite has been restored. Primary generator is not yet functioning and that some customers elsewhere in the facility still have no power. Engineers are on-site for Primus and PIPE has dispatched our own engineering team also along with our own backup generators.”

The electricity retailer that services the Primus data centre has now restored full power to the centre after repairing a faulty substation.

Primus has been contacted for comment on why its mains power generator and backup power systems all failed simultaneously but was not immediately reachable.