Fire damage at Somerton Exchange
Yesterday morning a vacant Somerton house in Northern NSW was destroyed by fire. The intense heat from the blaze caused major damage to Telstra’s Somerton Exchange, affecting around 270 fixed phone lines and some mobile and ADSL services.
Our Mobile Exchange on Wheels (MEOW) arrived on site yesterday evening and a crew of six worked overnight through freezing conditions to power up the mobile exchange, undertake fibre splicing and commissioning customers’ services to reconnect the local community.
Our field team’s priority has been to get the small community back on the air as quickly as possible, following which they will start work on a permanent solution for the area.
The MEOW was developed after the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria and are available to quickly provide a temporary communications solution to get customers reconnected in the shortest possible time.
Rebuilding an exchange which has been as extensively damaged as the Somerton one, will take some time. Through our MEOWs we are able to rapidly deploy temporary infrastructure and get customers connected. We now have MEOWs on stand-by in every state to roll in when an emergency like this arises and my understanding is that we are the only telecommunications provider in Australia with this sort of capability.