Supporting community connectivity in times of disaster
In the event of an emergency, the ability to communicate can be key to survival.
And, in its aftermath, being able to do those things we generally take for granted – like staying in touch with loved ones, accessing online services, and working or studying remotely – can help communities get back on their feet.
That’s why, to help boost the support offered to communities and emergency services personnel during times of disaster, we’re rolling out a range of important connectivity support measures including nbn™ Disaster Satellite Services, additional Road Muster Trucks, and more Portable Satellite Kits.
nbn™ Disaster Satellite Services
Designed as a back-up communications connection, nbn™ Disaster Satellite Services can be switched to ‘disaster mode’ during an emergency event to provide free satellite broadband functionality, including Wi-Fi, for public use.
Set to be installed at designated emergency management sites, like fire depots, and evacuation centres around Australia, nbn™ Disaster Satellite Services will help support communities during emergency events and the recovery process.
The service can provide additional support for disaster-affected communities where terrestrial communications networks are temporarily impacted due to loss of power, or damage to communications infrastructure.
These installations follow the 2019/20 bushfire crisis when nbn was able to help provide emergency connectivity to more than 5,000 residents, business owners and support staff across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
“Last summer, we worked with service providers to install temporary emergency satellite infrastructure to more than 30 evacuation centres and 10 emergency response centres,” says Gavin Williams, Chief Development Officer, Regional and Remote at nbn.
“By providing free satellite Wi-Fi services and mobile device charging facilities during the emergency, we were able to help keep families and loved ones connected, and provide vital communication services into areas that otherwise might not have had them.”
Now, as part of the Australian Government’s Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters (STAND) package, we’re installing nbn™ Disaster Satellite Services at locations across the country.
Supporting communities in times of need
Australian Capital Territory
Nominated by Federal, state and territory governments, and relevant emergency services agencies, further locations will be added in 2021.
nbn will be working closely with service providers to install and activate the services so they are ready should communities need them.
“While, of course, we hope never to see a repeat of last summer’s events, we welcome the opportunity to further increase our capabilities to support retail service providers, emergency services personnel and the communities impacted by these devastating events,” says Gavin.
Have connectivity, will travel
To further support communities during emergency events and loss of connectivity, our fleet of portable satellite services is also getting a boost.
Five new Road Muster Trucks – our nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite-equipped vehicles – are hitting the road to provide valuable Wi-Fi connectivity to emergency workers and evacuated local residents.
Able to be rapidly mobilised to support communities when they are most in need, the new Road Muster Trucks will be based across the country in Asquith (NSW), Bentley (WA), Green Fields (SA), Nunawading (VIC) and Townsville (QLD).
Working with emergency services, we’ll deploy our Road Muster Trucks where they are needed most and when it’s safe to do so.
Twelve additional Portable Satellite Kits have also been added to nbn’s emergency arsenal.
Transportable in protective Pelican cases, these satellite-equipped kits can be deployed to areas where no other communications services are available to provide valuable support to emergency services in disaster situations.
“The devastation of last summer’s bushfire emergency reinforced the importance of connectivity in disaster situations,” says Gavin.
“Our priority is to support communities and emergency services with connectivity when they need it most.”