PARIS, June 11 (Reuters) - Orange, France's
biggest telecoms operator, said on Friday that a software
failure caused the network outage that affected calls to French
emergency services for several hours last week, according to an
Orange's internal investigators found that the emergency
calls, which rely on a platform of servers responsible for
dispatching calls, were severely disturbed because of a bug in
the call server software.
Orange's voice services and access to some emergency
services were affected most between 1445 GMT and 2200 GMT on
June 2, Orange said, putting lives at risk and raising pressure
on Chief Executive Stephane Richard.
During that period, about 11,800 calls, or 11% of the total,
could not go through to the emergency services, Orange said.
The cause of the bug itself stemmed from an upgrade started
in early May to increase the network's capacity, Orange said.
Investigators also highlighted the late communication of the
incident to authorities, emergency services and the media, as
well as rivals Bouygues Telecom, SFR and Free, due to a delay in
the setting up an internal crisis unit.
It took about two hours to issue alerts and set up the
crisis management unit, which involves top management and other
frontline people for such major incidents, a spokesperson said.
In France, Orange is the sole operator responsible for
centralising and dispatching all emergency calls.
The Paris-based group said the software failure had been
identified and solved by its equipment supplier, which it did
not name. It reiterated that the glitch was not caused by a
Orange's investigators recommended, among other measures,
setting up a mechanism for the mass distribution of text
messages in the event of a future breakdown affecting emergency
France's cybersecurity agency ANSSI is also running a
separate two-month audit of the breakdown following a demand by
the government last week.
(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Louise Heavens and