LATEST: Community meetings tackle outage questions

This page will be updated with the latest information as it becomes available.

Community meetings have been held around Victoria's south-west this afternoon as Telstra warns full service restoration could be days away.

While mobile service has been restored to outlying affected areas, including Port Fairy, Warrnambool remains without Telstra phone and internet service after a fire at the Koroit Street exchange yesterday morning.

At the Warrnambool meeting, Telstra Country Wide south-west area manager Bill Mundy declined to provide a timeline on full service restoration, citing the presence of media at the gathering.

"Hopefully by lunchtime tomorrow we should be able to restore mobile service without data,'' he said.

Mr Mundy said it was ''highly possible'' EFTPOS services could remain offline in the middle of next week, but told an ANZ representative staying off the network would help with repairs.

Internet browsing and email via the mobile network will remain out of action, he said, while priority business and government customers have either had services restored or soon will.

For everyone else, the picture was less rosy.

A Telstra photo showing fire damage inside the Warrnambool exchange.

A Telstra photo showing fire damage inside the Warrnambool exchange.

"You should be prepared for quite a period without fixed communications as you know it,'' he said.

Mr Mundy offered an apology for the outage, saying it was "a bit out of the box for us [Telstra].''

He told a crowd of more than 200 that there would be a process for compensation, but did not offer any further details.

Emergency services representatives told the meeting their radio networks were functioning normally, but residents should avoid calling triple-zero unless absolutely necessary to avoid placing unnecessary stress on the phone network.

Earlier today, Mr Munday told 3YB the timeframe for full restoration was most likely days.

"It's probably going to be days before we're getting things back to the fully restored state from before the fire occurred.

"We're hopeful of getting emergency services back on first.

"We had crews working right through the night and will have them working right around the clock until we have this particular issue resolved.

"Restoring coverage to the Warrnambool area is part of the focus today. "

Telstra links with 60,000 landlines, 15,000 Internet customers and dozens of mobile phone towers were knocked out after yesterday's fire at the Koroit Street Telstra exchange, as well as customers on Vodafone. 

4.15pm update: We've just uploaded lots of new photos showing day two of the outage in Warrnambool, as well as some behind-the-scenes shots of the work being done to get the region back on the air. Click here to have a look.

Read a recap of the Warrnambool meeting below.

2.30pm update: Telstra have released an updated statement on the exchange fire. Here's a snippet:

"Telstra technicians have worked through the night to restore mobile service in Port Campbell, Portland, Hamilton, Dartmore, Colraine, Edenhope, Port Fairy, Mt Kincaid and Mt Clay. Technicians are working at patching the remaining impacted base stations through the Geelong or Ballarat exchanges. Mobile voice calls can now be made in North Warrnambool, but mobile data is not available at this time.

In addition, Telstra has deployed ten Satellite Cells on Wheels (SatCoWs) which will help to provide interim mobile services in the region. A number of these have been flown down from Sydney. The SatCOW equipment will be used to provide mobile network coverage to the main part of the township.

Two mobile exchanges have also been deployed to help restore landline and data services for emergency and essential services.

Although the exchange site is now secure and power has been restored, the extensive damage and technical nature of the work means we anticipate a number of days before all normal services are restored. A key priority is to restore ATM and EFTPOS facilities which remain largely affected."

1.15pm: Some business services are starting to come back online, according to Telstra.

12.30pm: Telstra have posted more photos showing the extent of fire damage to the Warrnambool exchange - take a look here.

12pm: Victoria Police have released further details about this afternoon's community meetings. Representatives from Victoria Police, Telstra, the local council and the Department of Human Services will be available to answer any questions at these locations:

Warrnambool Lighthouse Theatre, Liebig Street, Warrnambool

Portland Civic Hall, Bentinck Street, Portland

Hamilton Civic Hall, Brown Street, Hamilton

Killara Centre, Camperdown

11.30am: Police, Vic Roads, Telstra, health services and Warrnambool City Council will give updates at a community meeting at Warrnambool's Lighthouse Theatre at 2pm today.

9.30am: Deakin University has tweeted that some internet services have returned, but are not yet fully functional.

8.30am: Telstra has posted photos showing the extent of fire damage to the Warrnambool exchange.

Overnight, Telstra technicians and emergency services worked to weatherproof the damage building and restore mains power.