Come on down to Comms Connect Melbourne

Comms Connect (WFevents)

By Lauren Davis
Tuesday, 12 September, 2023

Come on down to Comms Connect Melbourne

The Southern Hemisphere’s premier critical communications and public safety event, Comms Connect, is returning to the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (MCEC) from 18–19 October.

This year’s conference is jam-packed with both local and international speakers, including some of the world’s leading authorities on public safety, emergency services and critical communications technology. It will be held across three concurrent streams — Public Safety and Emergency Management, Technology, and Industry — with attendees able to build their own agenda by selecting the sessions of most interest to them.

The 18th edition of Comms Connect Melbourne will feature more international industry experts than ever before, with Canada, USA, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong all represented on the conference program. FirstNet USA Executive Director Joe Wassell will keynote on day one, where he will explain how the FirstNet network has provided first responders with the best possible PSBN experience to protect their country. Julian Gorman, APAC Head of the GSMA, will travel from Hong Kong to headline day two on the subject of new technologies driving changes in critical comms networks. Other key international speakers include Dereck Orr and Brianna Huettel from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), speaking separately on pre-incident planning and next-gen broadband technology; and Phil Crnko from Canada’s PSBN Innovation Alliance, addressing innovation in first-responder communication.

Several speakers are also making the journey across the ditch, with an update on New Zealand’s Public Safety Network being presented by Steve Ferguson and Paul Smith from Next Generation Critical Communications (NGCC) as well as Vaughan Matthews from Hourua. NGCC and Hourua made headlines back in July when they launched a multi-network cellular roaming service, providing emergency services with better access to mobile broadband and around 28,000 km2 of additional coverage to help them better serve the community while staying safe. You can read more about the significance of this milestone in the article here.

In terms of local stories, representatives from Tasmania’s Department of Police, Fire & Emergency Management will cover the journey so far for the $763 million Tasmanian Government Radio Network (TasGRN) — from its inception in 2020 to its launch in July — and how it brought together eight organisations into one consolidated network to improve emergency services and government agency communications. Richard Gibb, from Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), will meanwhile detail how FRNSW has embarked on an extensive Connected Firefighter program of works, to uplift and enhance critical comms across the organisation to provide connectivity to firefighters on the frontline anytime, anywhere. You can learn more about some of the recent comms upgrades for firefighters in NSW, as well as their neighbours in Queensland, in our article here.

Other local industry leaders will include NSW Telco Authority Managing Director Kylie De Courteney, making a welcome return following her keynote last year; Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) CEO Louise Hyland, presenting on the power and potential of mobile networks and 5G in emergencies; ACMA’s Dominic Byrne, with a regulatory update; Telstra’s Sri Amirthalingam, speaking on critical comms across Australian industry; and Chris Dowling from the Telecommunications division of the Victorian Department of Government Services, with an update on the $550 million Connecting Victoria program.

In addition to case studies and technical papers focused on industry, technology, public safety, emergency and disaster response communications, three leadership panels will be held across the two days of the conference, featuring local and international panellists representing emergency services, government and telco leaders. These sessions will cover “The future of critical communications — from narrowband to broadband and everything in between”, “Public Safety Mobile Broadband — lessons learned and the way forward” and “Where to with P25 in Australia?”. The full conference program can be viewed at

Comms Connect association partners ARCIA and ACCF/TCCA have also put together six preconference workshops, covering subjects including private LTE/5G fundamentals, designing and planning microwave networks, mission-critical broadband and P25 standards. The workshops will be held at the MCEC on 17 October, serving as a valuable forerunner to the Comms Connect conference presentations. For more details and to register for the workshops, visit

Over 70 leading vendors will be presenting their wares on the expo floor on 18–19 October, giving attendees the chance to get up close and personal with the latest products and solutions. Telstra headlines the event sponsors, as Innovation Partner, while the Platinum Sponsors are Hypha, L3Harris, Simoco Wireless Solutions, Tait Communications and RFI Technology Solutions. The full list of exhibitors is available at

The exhibition hall will also host networking drinks on the evening of 18 October, which will be followed in the Convention Centre’s Sovereign Room by ARCIA’s Gala Dinner and Industry Excellence Awards (emceed this year by comedian and entertainer Paul McDermott). ARCIA recently announced a revamp of the awards and is excited to see nominations coming in for the updated categories, which will celebrate the best people and projects across the local industry. To book for the Gala Dinner, visit

It’s clear that the world of critical comms is at a turning point, and Comms Connect Melbourne will provide the chance for attendees to learn about just some of the possibilities that are on the horizon. Early-bird registration closes on 16 September, so don’t delay — register now at

What: Comms Connect Melbourne
When: 18–19 October 2023
Where: Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre

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