Telstra flood update 5
Posted on January 14, 2011
5 min read
With waters receding, our focus today is to repower, repair and restore network sites so that more customers can be connected.
As was the case yesterday, the biggest challenges for Telstra continues to be power, access to our sites, and damage by flood waters to our infrastructure. As such, some customers will still be experiencing issues with their landline, mobile, and broadband/Foxtel services.
We have a long road ahead in repairing the network, and we will see customer impacts vary over that time.
Today, we have seen a decline in the number of areas that are inaccessible. As it becomes safe, Telstra crews will move in to repower and repair network infrastructure to get customers connected as quickly as we can. There are still more than 200 areas where we cannot access network sites due to safety reasons. This figure constantly changes as the situation alters.
We can report that key exchanges in and around Brisbane, including Charlotte, Edison and Woolloongabba, are operating well at this time, and that there are no impacts to the communications of emergency service organisations. We have staff and generators on standby should mains power fail.
Key restoration works:
We have seen restoration overnight of mobile services north of Brisbane and to the south and south west of Brisbane including areas such as Albion, Dinmore, Taringa, Karalee and Indooroopilly.
We have also had landline and/or mobile services restored in Lowood, Karalee, Mt Crosby, Bulimba, Red Gate, Camp Hill, Bulimba, Pinkenba and Borallon.
The Australian Defence Force provided a charter flight from Brisbane to Kingaroy last night for two Telstra technicians to assess a fibre cable link which was damaged between Kingaroy and Dalby. Repairs to this cable are ongoing.
Restoration works will continue in the Lockyer Valley. Police assistance has been requested to provide access for Telstra staff to complete a more detailed assessment of the Grantham exchange and commence restoration works.
Current mobile tower impacts:
We are seeing services impacted in the Lockyer Valley, Brisbane Valley, Ipswich, Gympie, and a number of Brisbane suburbs following the river. As mentioned, a fibre cable fault between Kingaroy and Dalby is affecting the operation of a number of mobile towers from Rockhampton to Cairns. The main impact is in the Rockhampton area.
Current fixed phone line and internet service impacts:
We are seeing services impacted in Brisbane and surrounds, Darling Downs, the Sunshine Coast, Gympie, Maryborough, Bundaberg, and Rockhampton.
In general, we are experiencing fault volumes at 4 times their normal level, so there will be delays in restoring services and we ask our customers to be patient during this time. We are doing everything we can to get customers back online and are clearing as many faults as possible. To report a fault, customers should contact 13 22 03.
Some customers may experience call congestion on the network due to sheer volume of calls being made. Telstra reminds customers to keep conversations to a minimum to help keep the network open for emergency calls. If your call does not connect the first time, wait a few minutes and try again.
Telstra is monitoring the network closely.
We are well resourced with an extra 130 staff on the ground to help our local teams. We have a portable exchange and Cells on Wheels, which are transportable mobile base stations, that will be used where possible to have services up and running quicker.
It is anticipated that Telstra will deploy Cells 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.
Telstra’s 3×3 Recovery Plan:
We have a 3×3 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
To protect telecommunications infrastructure, please call Dial Before You Dig on 1100 prior to commencing any excavation works.
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.
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 Anglicare to distribute to people in flood affected areas. Affected customers will have access to Telstra’s ongoing Access for Everyone program, which includes Telstra Bill Assistance Certificates & $5 PhoneAway cards. This program is administered by 4000 community agencies and helps nearly one million low income customer to maintain access to communications services, a total annual benefit of $203 million. People should contact their local charity to access this program.
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 continues to monitor the ongoing flood situation, reviews payphones on the free list and adds payphone sites as required.
Tips for customers during this time:
Update on northern NSW:
Telstra continues to monitor the Northern NSW flood situation closely and any impact to our network.