Govt oversight for XT review

Emails reveal how 111 service failure added to review

The government will get oversight of an independent review into the Telecom XT mobile network failures.

Emails obtained by The Press reveal the government initially took a hands-off approach to the failures, but in the hours after the latest of four failures decided to play a stronger hand.

It was revealed last week that only 83 out of 640 emergency 111 calls got through during the February 22 network outage.

See also: 111 failure exposes Telecom's POTS problem
British-based consultancy firm Analysys Mason is doing an independent review of the outages.

The emails show Telecom moved late on the day after the February 22 outage to add the 111 service to the AM review.

"That is ... an additional set of independent eyes to give you (and us) assurance," an unnamed Telecom official told the government.

Communications Minister Steven Joyce's office was emailed a Labour Party press release by another minister's office which said: "Joyce not fighting for XT customers".

The email was headed: "Another twist along the way, hopefully soon to be superseded."

Ministry of Economic Development information and communication technology regulation manager Reg Hammond then gave Joyce advice on a draft press statement.

"This looks fine to me — puts the ball back into Telecom's court but shows we/govt are taking it v-seriously," Hammond wrote.

In a further email, Hammond said he was sure that if the government asked, it would be given oversight of the Analysys Mason review to confirm that it was independent.

Yesterday, Telecom spokesman Mark Watts said government officials would be allowed access to experts involved in the review.

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