It is the first service to be rolled out though funding provided by the Australian Government’s Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters (STAND) package to increase the number of temporary emergency network services.
The services provide additional support for disaster-affected communities where terrestrial communications networks are temporarily impacted due to power loss or damage to communications infrastructure.
NBN Co has been awarded a grant of $7 million to install nbn Disaster Satellite Service units at designated emergency management sites and evacuation centres across the country.
Around 95 nbn Disaster Satellite Services will be installed by the end of the year, with the remaining locations to be completed in 2021 as agreed with Federal and state and territory governments.
NBN Co say the service provides a back-up communications connection using satellite technology and will be switched on to ‘disaster mode’ during an emergency event, providing free full satellite broadband functionality, including Wi-Fi and video streaming.
NBN Co’s fleet of portable satellite services has also been boosted, with a $1.7 million grant provided to purchase five additional Muster Trucks and 12 additional Portable Satellite Kits.
NBN Co says the equipment can be rapidly mobilised to support communities with Wi-Fi connectivity when they are “most in need and are strategically placed around the country so they can be deployed as soon as it is safe to do so”.
Locations for the installation of emergency satellite infrastructure were nominated by the Federal, state and territory governments and relevant emergency service agencies, with NBN Co working with service delivery providers on the installation and activation of services.
“The devastation of last summer’s bushfire emergency reinforced the importance of connectivity in disaster situations and the important role NBN Co can play with the retail service providers in supporting communities when they are most in need,” says NBN Co Chief Development Officer Regional and Remote Gavin Williams.
“While, of course, we hope never to see a repeat of last summer’s events, we welcome the opportunity to further increase our capabilities to support retail service providers, emergency services personnel and the communities impacted by these devastating events,” Williams said.
“Last summer, we worked with retail service providers to install temporary emergency satellite infrastructure to more than 30 evacuation centres and 10 emergency response centres across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia to support more than 5,000 residents, business owners and support staff during the bushfire crisis.
“By providing free satellite Wi-Fi services and mobile device charging facilities during the emergency we were able to help keep families and loved ones connect and provide vital communication services into areas that otherwise might not have had them.
“Our priority is to support communities and emergency services with connectivity when they need it most,” Williams concluded.
Location of nbn Disaster Satellite Services to be installed by end 2020 are:
ACT: Namadgi National Park Visitors Centre, Tidbinbilla National Park Visitors Centre, Hall RFS Base, Guises Creek RFS Base, Southern Districts RFS Base, Tidbinbilla RFS Base, Rivers RFS Base, ESA Training Centre, Murrumbidgee Parks & Conservation Service Depot, Bendora Dam Parks & Conservation Service Depot, Glendale Parks & Conservation Service Depot, Gudgenby Homestead Parks & Conservation Service Depot
TAS: Lilydale Memorial Hall, Wynyard Sports Centre, Swansea Town Hall, Mathinna Recreation Ground, Karoola, Miena Community Hall, Huon Valley PCYC Building, Elma Fagan Community Centre Waratah, Pyengana Hall, Town Hall – Currie, Sorell Memorial Hall, Sheffield Kentish Town Hall, Alonnah Hall, Redpa Recreation Centre, Queenstown Sports Stadium, Nubeena Recreational Ground
SA: Victor Group Base, Kangaroo Island Group Base, Tatiara Group Base, Gambier Group Base, Kingscote Station, Loxton SES, Mallee Group Control Centre, Netley SES
WA: Wapole Community Hall. DFES Broome, Jurien Bay Football Oval, LG Shire Office, Private, Bremer Bay Sports Club, Leeman Sports Oval, Peaceful Bay
VIC: Bairnsdale City Ova, Cann River Rec Res, Paynesville Rec Res, Mallacoota Main Hall, Omeo Rec Res, Buchan Rec Res, Lakes Entrance Mechanics Hall, Cudgewa Temporary Community Support Hub, Licola Wilderness Village, Towong Temporary Community Support Hub, Tintaldra Temporary Community Support Hub, Myrtleford Sports Stadium, Orbost Cricket Club Oval, Myrtlrford Senior Citizens Centre, Ovens DELWP Office, Mitta Valley ERC, Lucyvale/Berringama Temporary Community Support Hub, Eskdale ERC
QLD: Biloela Civic Centre, Collinsville Community Centre, Gloucester Sport and Recreation Building, Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre, Bob Wood Hall, Sarina, Kianga Hall Moura, Robert Schwarten Pavilion, Taroom Town Hall, Cooktown Event Centre, Bundaberg Multiplex Sport and Convention Centre, Bundaberg Recreational Precinct, Ingham Showgrounds Pavilion, Townsville Stadium