More than 3000 homes and businesses were without an internet connection for much of the weekend.
It is understood that the outage occurred on Saturday afternoon and was still in effect for most of Sunday.
A Telstra customer who notified the Mercury of the outage said he was told on Saturday night it was caused by a ‘‘major hardware problem’’.
The issue also affected EFTPOS usage, with some businesses resorting to old-fashioned manual processing of credit card payments.
Telstra area general manager for the Illawarra, Mike Marom, said the heavy rains the Illawarra received last week led to the weekend’s outage.
‘‘Due to damage caused by water ingress at Wollongong exchange some customers in and around the area are unable to access the internet and some fixed line services have also been impacted,’’ Mr Marom said.
Mr Marom estimated that 3400 premises would have been without internet access and 1300 would have had fixed line issues.
‘‘Damaged equipment needs to be replaced and our technicians have been working on this since [Saturday] night,’’ he said.
Mr Marom said that some customers could have their internet connection restored as early as Sunday night while others may be affected ‘‘for a short while longer.’’
‘‘Medical priority customers are our first priority with alternative services offered to these customers where requested,’’ Mr Marom said.
‘‘We apologise for delays caused by this issue. Our technicians are on-site and are doing all they can to restore services as quickly as possible.
‘‘We thank customers for their patience.’’