NSW Budget invests in comms upgrades


Wednesday, 27 September, 2023

NSW Budget invests in comms upgrades

The NSW Government has announced its intention to rebuild essential services and deliver a safer state, by investing $26 million into new emergency services communications upgrades in the 2023–24 Budget.

Disaster resilience and response and recovery programs will be boosted through an $11.3 million investment in four new broadband cell on wheels (COWs) units to be delivered by the NSW Telco Authority. Self-powered and mounted on trailers, the COWs can be deployed to disaster areas to provide internet and mobile phone (Wi-Fi and 4G) coverage during and after emergencies.

An additional $11.3 million investment will begin the rollout of fit-for-purpose vehicle-as-a-node (VaaN) technology to the Rural Fire Service fleet. The upgrades should provide seamless internet connectivity to firefighting vehicles, enhancing communication and operational efficiency.

The government will invest $3.2 million in a suite of products providing community members and emergency services access to timely, accurate and actionable hazard warnings. This includes the mobile Hazards Near Me app, the HazardWatch flood and evacuations website and the HazardPublisher public warning management tool for emergency services. In addition, $3.3 million will be spent on early-warning detection systems for fires and floods, such as smart sensors, to better protect communities.

The government has also announced an investment of $103 million in capital expenditure over four years will support the upgrade of police facilities and infrastructure across the state. This includes $27 million for critical police operational radio communicating capabilities across the south, southwest and far west of NSW, and $2 million to support the NSW Police Marine Area Command through the upgrade of its Nemesis vessel (including its telecommunications system) for extended offshore operations.

Image credit: iStock.com/Wirestock

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