Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) builder has rolled out the first of its planned emergency network services, flagging the locations of nearly 100 such services set to be established by the end of the year.
The very first NBN Disaster Satellite Service to be established by NBN Co as a result of the funding provided by the Australian government’s Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters (STAND) package is in Namadgi, ACT.
The new infrastructure deployed in Namadgi is expected to boost the support offered to communities and emergency services personnel during and in the aftermath of emergency events, such as bushfires and floods.
In May, the federal government announced it would invest $37.1 million to strengthen telecommunications resilience in bushfire and disaster prone areas so that communities can stay connected during emergencies. The move followed the fallout of the disastrous 2019-2020 bushfire season.
The government pledged $8.7 million in grants to NBN Co to increase the number of temporary emergency network services.
Broadly, these services provide additional support for disaster-affected communities where terrestrial communications networks are temporarily impacted due to power loss or damage to communications infrastructure.
Specifically, 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.
These services provide a back-up communications connection using satellite technology and will be switched on to ‘disaster mode’ during an emergency event to provide free full satellite broadband functionality, including Wi-Fi and video streaming.
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, state and territory governments.
NBN Co’s fleet of portable satellite services has also been augmented by a $1.7 million grant provided to purchase five additional Muster Trucks and 12 additional Portable Satellite Kits.
This equipment is designed to be rapidly mobilised to support communities with Wi-Fi connectivity when they are most in need and are strategically placed around the country.
The locations expected set to receive NBN Disaster Satellite Services by the end of 2020 are:
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
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
Victor Group Base, Kangaroo Island Group Base, Tatiara Group Base, Gambier Group Base, Kingscote Station, Loxton SES, Mallee Group Control Centre, Netley SES
Wapole Community Hall. DFES Broome, Jurien Bay Football Oval, LG Shire Office, Private, Bremer Bay Sports Club, Leeman Sports Oval, Peaceful Bay
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
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