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13 Jan 2011
By John Parkin
Jan
13
2011

Queensland Flood update 4 from Telstra

Maryborough-under-flood-waters-January-2011

The biggest challenge for Telstra continues to be power and access to our sites and damage by flood waters to our infrastructure. This has led to an increase in the number of customers experiencing issues with their landline, mobile, and broadband/Foxtel services.

Maryborough streets floodedAccess to sites is severely restricted in the Brisbane and Ipswich areas due to flood waters, however with waters receding in some areas Telstra will, where possible, make repairs in the Brisbane Valley, Lockyer Valley, Ipswich and Gympie/Pomona areas today.

In addition, key exchanges in and around Brisbane, including Charlotte, Edison and Woolloongabba, have been manned overnight to ensure vital communications, especially to emergency service organisations.

Telstra’s 3 x 3 Recovery Plan
We have a 3 x 3 Recovery Plan which outlines three distinct phases aimed at restoring communication services:

  • Immediate short term service: within first three days
  • Temporary network restoration: within three weeks
  • Final infrastructure build: three months

IMPACTS ON TECHNOLOGY & INFRASTRUCTURE

Mobile towers:

We are seeing services impacted in the Lockyer Valley, Brisbane Valley, Ipswich, a large number of Brisbane suburbs following the river and Gympie.

Fixed phone line and internet services:

We are seeing services impacted in Brisbane and surrounds, Darling Downs, and the Sunshine Coast.

Generally, there has been an increase in the number of restricted sites due to flooding which our crews cannot access at this time. As soon as it is safe to do so, Telstra crews will move in to commence restoring services.

We are well resourced and ready to respond with an extra 130 staff on the ground to help our local teams. We have portable exchanges and Cells on Wheels (COWS), which are transportable mobile base stations, that we will used where possible to have services up and running quicker.

It is anticipated that Telstra will deploy COWS (Cell on Wheels) in the Lockyer Valley area to ensure people have mobile coverage. Actual locations will be determined in consultation with emergency services.

We can advise that key interstate transmission links are holding up well.

Payphones:

Around 100 payphones have been have been switched to free local and STD calls for people without telecommunications to connect to their family and friends in areas including Bundaberg, Chinchilla, Dalby, Emerald, Parkhurst, Wowan, St George, Tent Hill, Ma Ma Creek, Maryborough, Gympie and Mackay. Telstra continues to monitor the ongoing flood situation, reviews payphones on the free list and adds payphone sites as required.

Information on key regions

Lockyer Valley

AC Power outages and site inaccessibility continues to be an issue; however Telstra crews have had success in getting a number of Lockyer Valley exchanges back on the air with generators (Withcott, Murphy’s Creek and Helidon).

Telstra, via Police escort, have been in to assess Grantham exchange. However, Telstra’s will need to wait for the ‘crime scene status’ to be lifted before construction crews can repair damage.

Telstra will deploy Cells On Wheels in the Lockyer Valley area to ensure people have mobile coverage. Actual locations will be determined along with advice from emergency services.

Ipswich area

Flood waters are receding and Telstra are hoping to have access to the Ipswich exchange later today, however the exchange continues to run well.

Central Queensland

Emerald and Gympie’s mobiles and landline networks have been restored.

Telstra is still monitoring a number of Central Queensland areas where flood waters continue to rise (e.g. Condamine, etc).

Bribie Island

Yesterday Bribie exchange suffered power issues due to a lightning strike. Service were restored early that afternoon.

Northern NSW

Telstra continue to monitor the Northern NSW flood situation closely and any impact to our network.

Assistance for customers

Telstra is offering an assistance package for its residential and small business customers across Queensland and in New South Wales who have been evacuated from their homes or whose phone services have been affected by the recent storms and flooding.

Full details of our assistance packages are available on the About Telstra website under Media Announcements

Telstra is providing loan mobile handsets, mobile phone battery chargers and satellite phones to evacuation centres and to emergency organisations. Satellite kits have been distributed to emergency services organisations and some isolated communities.

Telstra has made available an additional 200 pre-paid mobile handsets, 2000 $30 recharge cards & 1600 $10 PhoneAway cards to assist people in flood affected areas.  This is in addition to programs available under Telstra’s ongoing Access for Everyone program, which includes Telstra Bill Assistance Certificates and $5 PhoneAway cards. Anglicare Australia will distribute these resources, as part of their work coordinating Telstra resources for Access for Everyone agencies assisting people affected by the floods in and around Brisbane.

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4 Comments

  1. mal says:

    so what are the other telco’s doing

    • Adam says:

      Probably trying to do the same as Telstra with mobile services, however their infrastructure up north is nowhere near the same sort of calibre as Next G anyway.

    • sue says:

      During the telethon to raise money I saw Vodaphone I think, but it may have been Optus, give a nice check and announce that people in the flood affected areas would not be billed for calls for x long.

  2. Cam McEwen says:

    Good stuff John and team and know you’ll be out there getting customers back on their feet as soon as possible! Certainly a big challenge but one the QLD’ers are well and truly up for and capable of getting on top of!

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