Emergency booster for telecoms

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Yarra Ranges Council has welcomed funding for ten trial sites for fixed installations of nbn™ disaster satellite services.

The Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters (STAND) grant is part of a $37.1 million federal program. NBN satellites placed strategically at recovery hubs will provide public emergency internet access at the community relief locations during a natural disaster or emergency when ground transmission networks have failed and when telecommunications providers are unable to attend infrastructure to make repairs or to install and refuel temporary generators.

All ten sites have been installed with the NBN satellite service, which means residents would be able to access internet connectivity at these locations along with other services in the event of an emergency.

The sites for the pilot are:

  • Coldstream Community Hall,
  • Healesville Memorial Hall,
  • Warburton and Millgrove Sporting Complex,
  • Yarra Junction Yarra Centre,
  • Yarra Glen Memorial Hall,
  • Monbulk Living and Learning Centre,
  • Powelltown Sporting Clubrooms,
  • Olinda Recreation Reserve,
  • Karwarra Gardens and
  • The Patch Public Hall

Yarra Ranges Mayor Cr Jim Child said it was important that areas that are at risk of bushfire and places that were so severely impacted in the June storm, were included in the STAND program.

“While I hope this infrastructure never gets used, it’s comforting to know it is there and it will help to build resilience in our community to help them stay connected in future emergencies,” he said.

“Access to telecommunications before, during and after a disaster is critical and is something we know our community desperately needs. Not having access to 000 or emergency information was one of the most frightening aspects of the June 9 storms.”

“The new satellites will be key to supporting our community through future disaster events, however, they only solve part of the problem.

“Currently residents within the Yarra Ranges have second rate telecommunications service which impacts business, education, health services and general online activities,” Cr Child said.

“And in the lead-up to bushfire season, poor telecommunications service hinders our emergency preparedness efforts, too.”

“We need more investment in local infrastructure to ensure reliable and safe access to mobile and internet services around the clock, every day of the year, across the municipality.”

The STAND program will deliver 2000 NBN satellite services to various community sites across the country with approximately 300 sites in Victoria. The service can be activated during and after an emergency to provide internet access for affected communities.

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