Orange attributes a network failure to a software failure

By Mathieu Rosemain

PARIS (Reuters) – Orange, France’s largest telecommunications operator, said on Friday that a software crash caused the network to go down, which affected calls to French emergency services for several hours last week, an investigation found internal.

Orange internal investigators found that emergency calls, which rely on a platform of servers tasked with dispatching calls, were severely disrupted due to a bug in the call server software.

Orange’s voice services and access to some emergency services were hit the hardest between 2:45 p.m. GMT and 10 p.m. GMT on June 2, Orange said, putting lives at risk and increasing pressure on CEO Stéphane Richard .

During this period, around 11,800 calls, or 11% of the total, could not go through the emergency services, Orange said.

The cause of the bug itself stems from an upgrade started in early May to increase network capacity, Orange said.

The investigators also underlined the late communication of the incident to the authorities, the emergency services and the media, as well as to competitors Bouygues Telecom, SFR and Free, due to a delay in setting up a crisis unit. internal.

It took about two hours to issue alerts and set up the Crisis Management Unit, which involves senior management and other front-line people for such major incidents, a spokesperson said.

In France, Orange is the only operator responsible for centralizing and routing all emergency calls.

The Paris-based group said the software failure was identified and resolved by its equipment supplier, which it did not name. He reiterated that the problem was not caused by a cyber attack.

Orange investigators recommended, among other measures, the establishment of a massive SMS distribution mechanism in the event of a future failure affecting the emergency services.

French cybersecurity agency ANSSI is also conducting a separate two-month audit on the outage following a government request last week.

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Louise Heavens and David Clarke)

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