Telstra’s new MEOW
Our third generation Mobile Exchange on Wheels (MEOW™) has recently rolled off the production line and I have to say that I’m really proud of how the MEOW Mk III has turned out – from concept to reality.
Our MEOWs have an important role to play in providing communications to customers in an emergency or natural disaster. If a Telstra exchange or street cabinet becomes inoperable (usually due to a fire or flood) we can deploy a MEOW to provide fixed phone and broadband services while the exchange or street facility is repaired.
The idea of a portable exchange on wheels grew from the ashes of Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfire disaster in February 2009. Our first MEOW was launched in late July 2009 and we built using standard exchange equipment and enclosed in a hut on wheels which provided room for technicians to work.
MEOW Mk I filled the need at the time but as engineers we are always seeking ways we can refine and improve our technology solutions. So, following the 2011 Queensland Floods, we created the MEOW Mk II this time using street cabinets which were also trailer mounted.
The all new MEOW Mk III has refined the concept even further by taking the experience we’ve gained and refining the configuration even further.
Now we have been able to more than double the capacity which will enable us to re-connect more services in the event of a disaster. It is also even more robust than its predecessors with flexible cable connections allowing faster setup.
Highly visible with Telstra branding, our two new MEOWs are the culmination of everything we’ve learned from building the two previous generations of MEOWs as well as the things we’ve learned while they’ve been on deployment.
The MEOW Mk III can not only connect a wider variety of services but more of them and as such will cover a wider range of customer scenarios when needed. If disaster strikes, these new MEOWs can provide:
- 768 lines of ADSL2+ broadband
- 780 PSTN lines and 16 ISDN lines
- Plus it will now support Payphones and EFTPOS / ATM Services for the first time
While they are designed to be deployed anywhere in Australia, our two newest MEOWs will be based at Gnangara in WA and Flinders in SA. This brings our MEOW fleet to five – one in each of the mainland states of Australia.
The new look MEOWs are one of the many recommendations to flow from the Warrnambool exchange fire investigation and report.