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Flood update No 7 from Telstra

Telstra News

Posted on January 17, 2011

7 min read

In the last 24 hours we have seen further restoration of landline, broadband and Foxtel services in and around Brisbane, with more power being turned on and more of the network being repaired. We have also had further restoration of mobile towers, which is improving coverage in and around Brisbane.

Ipswich Pub flooded inHowever, there are still many customers who will be experiencing issues with these services, but we are seeing this number decline daily as we continue repair and restoration works and bring more mobile towers back online.

As advised yesterday, the majority of services are likely to be restored over the next week in Brisbane and surrounding areas, but it will be some weeks before all repairs are completed and all services restored.  Demand on our resources is expected to grow as customers return to their homes and businesses, especially in the CBD today.

One of our main focuses this week will be to repair and turn on smaller roadside cabinets, which house landline and broadband services. These smaller sites have sustained damage due to the floods, and repairs will vary site by site. Assessments of all roadside cabinets is being undertaken when access is available, and the restoration of these sites is expected to take some time.

Since yesterday, we have seen a further decline in the number of areas that are inaccessible. As such, we have been able to get more crews in to repower and repair network infrastructure. There are 137 areas where Telstra crews cannot gain access network sites due to safety reasons.

We remind customers that there are still a significant number of individual service faults to be repaired, but Telstra crews are making significant progress in restoring services. We ask our customers to be patient during this time. To report a fault, customers should contact 13 22 03.

Key exchanges in and around Brisbane CBD are operating well at this time. There are no impacts to the communications of emergency service organisations.

Current impacts:

  • Customers in the following areas may be experiencing issues with their home phone or broadband service: some areas of Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Darling Downs, Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay and Capricornia area.
  • Customers in the following areas may be experiencing issues with their mobile service: Lowood, Southern and western suburbs of Brisbane following the Brisbane river. Also central Brisbane locations in the CBD, Southbank and Kangaroo Point.
  • As mentioned, we continue to restore or repair roadside cabinets, wherever possible. There remain 47 sites that have failed due to water damage and flooding (some still underwater), the majority of which are roadside cabinets.
  • There are still areas around the flood zone where major infrastructure has been completely inundated such as Yeronga, Paddington, Chapel Hill and Jamboree Heights impacting landline and broadband services. We aim to repower and repair sites in these areas as soon as possible.

Latest restoration activity:

  • Services have been restored to customers in Cunnamulla, including Thargomindah and Yowah, where some mobile and landline services where interrupted due to severe storm activity.
  • Network sites at Lowood and Mt Stradbroke have been restored so that services in Lowood, Minden and Marbug are now up and running, however stability of mains power remains an issue.
  • We will be removing generators from some sites where mains power has been restored and redeploying them into other areas without power, as access becomes possible.
  • We will continue restoring roadside cabinets, with crews focusing on equipment assessments in the Lockyer Valley, Toowoomba and Wide Bay.

Important Telstra contact numbers:

For customers returning back to work today who have any questions, would like support, or would like to report a fault, please contact:

Telstra Business Customers: 13 29 99

Telstra Enterprise and Government Customers: 1800 815 851

For residential faults, please contact: 13 22 03

Network:

We have approximately 230 extra technical staff in the field including 30 technicians from New Zealand who will arrive this week. Telstra has mobilised 70 additional technicians in Central Queensland, specifically for the Darling Downs, Lockyer Valley and Wide Bay and Capricornia areas. As flood water recedes in Rockhampton we are now looking to deploy additional resources into that area.

We have extra staff and crews on site in the Brisbane CBD today, with many business returning to work.

We have a portable exchange and Cells on Wheels (transportable mobile base stations), which are ready to be dispatched if required.

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

Telstra reminds customers working on cleaning up to avoid placing large damaged items on the kerbside obstructing Telstra infrastructure and possibly hampering telecommunication restoration efforts.

To protect telecommunications infrastructure, please call Dial Before You Dig on 1100 prior to commencing any excavation works.

Assistance for customers:

A disaster assistance package for Telstra residential and small business customers has been announced for customers in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The package provides practical assistance with phone services including free call diversions, and holding of customer phone numbers and email addresses. For more information:

Queensland: Media Release

Update to Telstra assistance package for Queensland customers affected by floodwaters and storms

New South Wales: Media Release

Telstra assistance package for New South Wales customers affected by floodwaters and storms

Victoria: Media release

Telstra assistance package for Victorian Shire customers affected by floodwaters and storms

Telstra has set up communication services in Evacuation Centres including temporary internet kiosks with laptops, free loan handsets with SIM cards for use by evacuees, free phone cards, Wireless Gateway for internet access, a modem for the Red Cross and the provision of chargers for people to recharge phone handsets. Satellite kits have been distributed to emergency services organisations and some isolated communities. Loan handsets have been provided to many locations outside the designated Evacuation Centres.

Telstra is promoting the Queensland Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal online at Telstra.com, BigPond.com and Trading Post.com

Free calls from payphones:

Around 100 payphones 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, Mackay, Condamine, Theodore, Brisbane evacuation centres, Gatton and Ipswich. Telstra is continuing to monitor the ongoing flood situation and will review payphones on the free list and add payphone sites as required. 

Victorian update:

The main focus in Victoria remains in the Central region with flood waters expected to peak in Horsham today. The waters progressing down the Campaspe, Avoca and Loddon rivers have exceeded the water level indicators. The situation is being closely monitored for Quambatook, Kerang and Boort for the next few days. The Murray River at Echuca has already peaked without impact to network infrastructure. With further restoration of power today, there are now 22 network sites without mains power in the Victorian flood affected areas.  We have deployed further generator to these sites, so there are now no base stations or exchanges with services lost due to power.  A number of roadside cabinets are being checked for power issues. Seven sites have batteries in low volts (but services are still operational) and staff with generators have been dispatched. All other sites have services supported by generator or batteries. We are seeing individual service faults rise and we will be fixing these as quickly as we can.

Northern NSW update:

We are monitoring the network closely in northern NSW. There are no significant impacts to Telstra’s network at this stage. There are a higher number of individual service faults. We have extra technicans in the region and will be repairing services as quickly as we can.

Information on Telstra’s disaster assistance packages for Victoria and New South Wales are listed above.

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