PARIS, July 11 France Telecom said the
origin of a nationwide network outage over the weekend that left
26 million customers unable to make calls or send text messages
was a software problem on Alcatel-Lucent equipment.
In testimony before France's National Assembly on Wednesday,
Chief Executive Stephane Richard said that the software had
undergone an update roughly 48 hours before the 10-hour outage.
"It seems that during this update, there was a problem, some
sort of malfunction that was at the origin of the outage," he
Richard added that the software update was carried out by
Alcatel-Lucent in conjunction with France Telecom staff.
The outage was the biggest disruption of communications seen
in France since 2004 and has touched off government concern
about the reliability of key national infrastructure.
The recently elected Socialist government has called for
national audits of all the telecom operators' networks to ensure
that they are up to snuff.
Alcatel-Lucent said on Wednesday that it was working with
France Telecom to identify the "root causes" of the outage.
"At this stage we know this incident created an abnormally
overload of the software provided by Alcatel-Lucent," said an
Alcatel-Lucent spokesman in a statement to Reuters.
He added that Alcatel-Lucent had since provided a software
patch to act as a monitoring tool while continuing to
investigate the issue with France Telecom.
France Telecom will give all mobile customers a free day of
calling in September to compensate them for the service
disruption. Richard said that the incident will likely cost the
company "several dozen million euros" and that a precise figure
would be given on July 26 at the company's quarterly results.
(Reporting by Leila Abboud and Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by