Telstra announces support initiatives for disaster season

Monday, 18 December, 2023

Telstra announces support initiatives for disaster season

Telstra has announced a range of new initiatives to support Australians during what is already gearing up to be a challenging summer of natural disasters — including by testing the ability for people to use any available mobile network in the event that their own provider’s network has been impacted by a disaster or doesn’t have coverage.

With the number and severity of natural disasters increasing, industry and government have been discussing the technical and commercial hurdles that will need to be overcome before emergency roaming can be introduced. To help guide this conversation, Telstra will be conducting a simulation within its own network in order to demonstrate this is possible, while also engaging with other network providers and government on how emergency roaming would operate and be funded, as well as the timing for rollout.

The company’s other support initiatives include:

  • 100 GB of extra data for post-paid customers in a disaster-affected area, which will be automatically applied for use in Australia within 30 days.
  • The upgrade of 1000 payphones in disaster-prone areas — including in 70 remote Indigenous communities — with free Wi-Fi, USB charging and backup power, expected to be completed by mid-2025.
  • The launch of the Telstra Response Team — a dedicated crew of technicians across Australia who will be deployed during a disaster to repair critical equipment (such as telephone exchanges, mobile towers, cables, etc) and restore connectivity to communities affected by disasters.
  • 110 new trailer-mounted, high-powered generators that will help the Response Team to keep power flowing to towers and exchanges in the event of a disaster.
  • Trialling portable satellite technology that can help local communities connect when mobile and fixed connections are down in a disaster area.

More information about these initiatives can be found on Telstra Exchange.

Image credit: Telstra.

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