Covering Colac with DMR
CommSite will supply the Colac Otway Shire Council with a DMR Tier III, 10-year managed services solution.
CommSite Group has grown quickly to become one of Australia’s largest privately owned service providers in the radio and mobile telecommunications sector. Its business covers most of the eastern seaboard of Australia, including Tasmania, with an expanding coverage area supporting 24/7 on-call services.
CommSite’s latest success is a contract to supply the Colac Otway Shire Council with a DMR Tier III communications system.
The CommSite story began in 2010 when Tony Biddiscombe, a 35-year veteran of the radiocommunications industry, relocated himself and his family back to Victoria’s Gippsland area. The business began from Biddiscombe’s home office before moving into its current headquarters in Traralgon in 2012.
The company has now evolved into multiple businesses supporting different facets of the communications industry.
CommSite Integrated Communications continues to deliver professional radiocommunication support, construction and maintenance contracting services, managed services contracts and large-scale project delivery. It supplies leading brands of commercial radio communications equipment and hardware, and has a turnkey project capability that includes civil works.
TelcoSite delivers professional support services for the mobile telecommunications industry. Turnkey, large-scale project deliverables include full greenfield site construction such as civil works and electrical, optical fibre projects including pit and pipe civils, technology upgrades, system rollouts or hardware replacement programs. It provides ongoing maintenance support including 24/7 on-call services for mobile carrier businesses in several states.
Radio Geek is an online retail business that provides a broad range of communications. And CommSite Security Services provides security-related services such as project delivery and contract maintenance of wireless digital cameras, surveillance software, access control and perimeter security systems.
In October, CommSite was awarded a 10-year managed services contract by Colac Otway Shire Council to supply, install and maintain a digital mobile radio network, based on DMR Tier III technology.
The system will enable the council to provide its staff with mobile and handheld radio services across the whole shire at a competitive cost.
The council has been operating a VHF-linked, low-band (35 MHz), two-way radio network from five repeater sites spread across the shire. Used for day-to-day communications and for safety communication in isolated locations, the network is well past its usable service life, comprising non‐replaceable components and operating in a band for which the ACMA is no longer issuing licences.
The council issued an RFT in January 2018, with tenders closing the following month. CommSite and four other companies bid for the contract, each of them proposing a solution comprising five repeater sites. CommSite also suggested a seven-site solution, and it was this proposal that won it the contract.
According to council minutes, “This solution was most appealing as it significantly increases coverage around Forrest and the south east corner of the shire, which was affected by a significant bushfire a few years ago. In the event of loss of a site/tower in the network the two extra sites will help cover loss of signal.”
The minutes also state that “The installation of the DMR system will lower Council’s risk profile. Monitoring and GPS functionality inherent to the DMR‐T3 structure will enhance worker safety. Specific features of the proposed solution include automatic worker down notification, lone worker monitoring, real time user and asset tracking.”
The managed services include but are not limited to:
- operational communications
- emergency coordination
- local traffic and work zone control
- GPS and lone-worker services for fixed and handheld radios
- key-on/key-off utilisation events for mobile plant.
CommSite’s seven-site solution is based on three talk channels and one data channel. The service base will be 17 heavy vehicles, 17 medium vehicles, 10 light vehicles, four fixed bases (for each of the council’s services and operations depots) and 19 handheld radios.
Installation of the system commenced in early October, with a proposed completion date of the end of January 2019. The process for implementation will be:
- Perform tower and site upgrades and install new equipment.
- Link all sites and perform system coverage and performance testing to ensure the system meets the required standards.
- Upgrade all radios, work unit by work unit.
- Remove the existing system.
In 2017, CommSite Group expanded its corporate team by appointing a dedicated health, safety and quality manager and bringing on board Andy Bulloch as General Manager.
According to Bulloch, the 2018 financial year has seen the company’s operations grow healthily with the expansion of the team providing on-the-ground services across Victoria, and the establishment of the Queensland operation with a new office in Toowoomba.
“This was complemented by key clients taking on the option to extend and expand contracts, as well as being awarded many maintenance contracts through RFP processes, some of which had been held by incumbents for over 20 years,” Bulloch said.
Other key customers and contracts include Exxon Mobile, Australian Paper Mill, AGL Loy Yang, Ericsson NBN wireless maintenance, Ericsson NBN Expansion Project, Nokia Networks, Gippsland Water and Latrobe City Council.
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