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Tag: disaster-assistance

Giving assistance to Townsville and our flood-affected customers

Telstra News

Posted on February 5, 2019

4 min read

Major flooding in the Townsville region of Queensland has threatened thousands of homes and forced the evacuation of over 1,100 residents, with a record amount of rain falling in the area. We’re committed to helping our customers through this difficult period.

We’ve put together an assistance package to help our customers in the region, giving customers access to free and interim services during the recovery period as we understand how important it is to connect and reach out to friends and family during these situations.

We want to make things easier for anyone in a flood-affected location, so we’re opening up free use of Telstra public payphones, as well as free use of Telstra Air Wi-Fi hotspots in the area.

Telstra residential and small business customers can also access an assistance package designed to help manage both short- and long-term impacts of this strong weather.

If you’ve had to evacuate your home or if you’ve lost your home, call us on 132 203 (then enter your full home phone number including area code when prompted) to report a fault. From there you can register for assistance.

Telstra relief packages can include the following:

The above offers are applicable until network damage in the area due to floods is repaired, or while customers remain evacuated, for a maximum period of three months from the date of the floods.

Affected Telstra mobile customers who do not have a Telstra home phone can receive a one-off credit to the value of $100 inc. GST (limited to one mobile phone per Telstra mobile account).

Lending a helping hand through Tasmania’s bushfire season

Telstra News

Posted on February 4, 2019

5 min read

Tasmania’s current bushfire season has been brutal, destroying nearly 200,000 hectares of land across the state and damaging much-loved local icons like the Tahune Airwalk. We’re ready to lend a hand to any of our customers impacted by the fires.

We know how important it is to reach out to friends and family in difficult times, and we want to do whatever we can to help our customers connect. Our assistance package for residential and small business customers impacted by the Tasmanian bushfires gives them access to free and interim services during the recovery period.

In addition to providing our customers with a range of ways to access those interim services, we are making it easier for all Tasmanians affected by the bushfires by enabling free use of Telstra public payphones in fire-affected areas.

We have a package in place for short-term affected customers like those who have had to temporarily evacuate their premises, or those who have a temporary fault on their service due to bushfire activity:

The above offers are applicable until network damage in the area due to bushfires is repaired, or while customers remain evacuated, for a maximum period of three months from the date of the bushfires.

If you’re one of our mobile customers without a Telstra fixed home phone service, you will be eligible for a one-off credit to the value of $100 inc. GST (limited to one mobile phone per Telstra mobile account).

For our customers who have suffered severe damage to or the loss of their premises, we have an assistance package that offers long-term support and the ability to move a fixed phone service to a temporary alternate address:

If you have had to evacuate your home, or if you have lost your home, call us whenever you’re able on 132 203 (then enter your full home phone including area code when prompted) to report a fault. From there, you’ll be able to register for the assistance package.

Our hearts go out to those impacted by this natural disaster, and we give our thanks to the incredible hard work of the Tasmania Fire Service and those volunteers who are committed to controlling the fires in any capacity that they are able to give.

How we prepare for Australia’s natural disaster season


Posted on December 6, 2018

3 min read

We know that staying connected is especially crucial during times of crisis. Natural disasters like fires, cyclones and floods can damage our infrastructure and disrupt the connectivity we’re all so reliant on.

In our long history we’ve had many years of first-hand experience dealing with disasters, which helps up prepare for future events before they even happen. If disasters hit, our plans are in place so as soon as it’s safe, we can jump into action and start restoring services.

Graham Potbury is one of our field services team leaders in central New South Wales, and has been on the front line of bringing connectivity back to disaster-hit areas. Restoring mobile and fixed line coverage is a top priority, but has to wait for emergency services to make the area safe. “Most of the time, we’re champing at the bit to get started and give our customers a service, so they can talk to loved ones and get their lives back on track.

“We talk to customers in the area to let them know we’re working and to keep them updated – and sometimes it’s not until after a week or so that the enormity sinks in; it drives you to keep working in trying conditions.”

Preparation is key – ours and yours

Our regular preparation for the summer months, where we’re more likely to experience extreme weather events, starts months beforehand when we test our network redundancy and develop plans to protect our property and equipment in at-risk areas.

Our national Emergency Management team works with local Emergency Service Liaison Officers (ESLOs), who all take part in large and small-scale exercises to test communication and collaboration between our field staff and emergency services on the ground. We use the lessons from these exercises to continually adapt and update our procedures.

Key to our preparation is moving temporary network support close to where we predict it may be used. We have a reserve of portable base stations, mobile exchanges on wheels (MEOWs) and mobile cells on wheels (COWs). We also manage our teams of field technicians to ensure we have the right people in the right places if they’re needed. They’re often the first on the scene in disaster hit areas after emergency services have declared the area safe.

We’re always watching the weather around the country. When we have advance notice of a strong weather event like a cyclone we can take action like sandbagging at-risk exchanges and roadside cabinets to reduce the risk of water damage, as well as moving our temporary network infrastructure into a location where it is ready to be used when it’s safe to do so.

Our work in the field is backed up by high-tech investment that helps us respond remotely, like our Next Generation Operational Support System (NGOSS) that processes 8TB of network data each day to help us understand the impact to our customer while maintaining overall network stability, throughout events. Our work in transforming our network using digital platforms and building Networks for the Future also puts us in a stronger position to respond to service disruptions – including those caused by extreme weather – by dynamically adjusting service routes and network bandwidth digitally.

Our assistance package for drought affected Australian customers


Posted on August 2, 2018

1 min read

With parts of Australia impacted by significant drought, including 50 per cent of Queensland and NSW, we are making our natural disaster support arrangements available to all Telstra customers affected by drought across the country.

These support arrangements include working with customers in financial hardship to offer longer-term payment options or extensions, reviewing and removing any administrative fees (e.g. for late payment), and reviewing a customer’s mobile, fixed line and broadband plans to make sure they are affordable.

Affected residential customers are encouraged to contact us at any time on 13 22 00 and say ‘financial hardship’ (Monday to Friday, 8.00 am – 5.00 pm AEST) to discuss their situation. Small Business customers should contact us on 13 20 00 and Premier Business/Telstra Enterprise customers on 13 22 53.

Learn more online.

Be prepared for strong weather

Telstra News Network

Posted on March 20, 2018

3 min read

Everyone loves the start of the year, with its hot days, balmy night and backyard barbeques. But with the warmer months comes an increased risk of natural disasters – fire, floods and cyclones – across the country.

It’s important to think ahead and make sure you can stay informed about conditions and connected with loved ones during an emergency. Even if you don’t live in an area of high risk for cyclones, bushfires or flooding, you may work in or travel through a high-risk area, so it’s important that everyone knows what to do in an emergency.

Here are a few of our tips on what you can do now that will make it easier to stay connected during a disaster.

Be prepared – what to do before an emergency

Mobile phones

Alternative phone charger – If you haven’t already, purchase a phone charger that isn’t dependent on a power outlet. Solar power chargers, in-car chargers and power bank chargers are all reliable options. Make sure you charge your power bank.

  • Back up data – Back up important data, like contact information and photos, to your cloud.
  • Know your numbers – Compile a list of essential contact numbers to store in your phone and keep them close at hand, including local Police, Fire, SES, family, friends and Telstra’s fixed line fault line – 13 22 03.
  • Satellite phones – are usually immune to damaged infrastructure and can operate in remote locations. If communications are critical you could consider a satellite phone.

Fixed line phones

  • Have a spare battery – Remember, most modern cordless phones rely on electric power to operate, so you may lose the use of your landline during a power outage. Consider a phone with a battery backup function and keep spare batteries nearby.
  • For our nbn customers – It’s important to remember if your home phone now works through the modem, and if there’s a power outage, your phone line will also be down. Best to have a mobile phone handy, or a satellite phone for those in remote areas.
  • Keep a spare plug-in phone handy – Your cordless phone is great, but using a plug-in phone connects you to the telephone exchange.

Social Media

  • Virtual meeting place – Set up an instant messaging group with family and friends. Agree in advance to update each other here during an emergency.
  • Emergency apps – Download emergency service apps. They will give up to date warnings and incident information issued by official agencies across Australia.
  • Local information sources – Identify key local agency social media accounts and websites for real time information on what’s happening in your area.
  • Be alert – Subscribe to text and emails that will alert you to weather changes, road closures and local emergency services updates.
  • Know your emergency broadcaster: Have a battery powered radio with spare batteries to listen to the emergency broadcaster in your area.

Stay informed about network issues in your area

Our Service Status site provides up-to-date on outages and restoration timeframes in your area.

And if you have an issue with your service, make sure you report it. Telstra customers can report a fault by calling:

  • Mobile phone: 125 111
  • Fixed line: 132 203
  • ADSL: 133 933

All other customers should contact their service provider to log a fault.