Recent problems at Telstra should give all telecom carriers pause for thought.

Despite a huge and high profile network transformation investment over many years, it seems as if outages are more frequent and more impactful.

As LightReading reports, a review of Telstra’s program concluded that more redundancy and better network monitoring were required. This resulted in a commitment to spend more on capacity. So the answer is spending more. But is it that simple?

Perhaps a more enlightened approach may be needed. After all, surely “adding redundancy” runs contrary to the principles of lean that telecom has been encouraged to embrace for 15+ years? Not least because the last 10 years tells us that however much capacity we have, customers will always want more.

Telsta’s unfortunate issues should be a wake-up call to all telcos, about their ability to predict, and readiness to respond to, failures.

Instead of asking: do we have enough capacity? telcos should be asking: when (and where) will we run out of capacity? And what are we doing to mitigate?

Instead of simply reacting to outages, telcos would do better by having an up-to-date view of high-impact failure scenarios and their impacts – with recovery plans should the worst case failure happen.

The key change is that these sorts of questions can’t be twice-a-year reviews.

The industry mantra is about real-time, on-demand, flexible service delivery. But it’s vital that we also ensure other parts of operations – assurance, planning, disaster recovery, sales – can also work in sync with this.

Even just 10 years ago, these sorts of questions were deemed “too hard” to answer. Yet today, with incredibly dynamic changes in how network capacity is consumed, they are perhaps the most critical. The Telstra case certainly suggests so. And in 2016, the technology is there (in a way it just wasn’t in 2006).

The game has certainly changed – for Telstra and everyone else – so it’s right that we start asking different questions, and looking for more enlightened solutions.