Alpine Observer

‘Hardening’ mobile networks to bushfires


BRIGHT will benefit from a program by Optus to make its mobile network less susceptibl­e to damage from bushfires.

The 2019-2020 bushfire season impacted power, telecommun­ications and other critical infrastruc­ture throughout the greater Victorian Alpine region.

Optus is actively pursuing ways to ‘harden’ its network to bushfires, making them more resilient during emergencie­s, when customers need to be connected.

Since mid-2020, CSIRO and Optus have collaborat­ed on a study of the potential impacts of embers, radiation and flame on and around Optus’ sites with telecommun­ications equipment.

The findings will be used to assess which sites are at highest risk.

The program of work will then rollout across an initial tranche of around 40 sites in Victoria, including sites in and around Bright, Wangaratta, and Warragul.

“Optus continuous­ly aims to improve our network’s resilience as we know communitie­s rely heavily on our services, especially during natural disasters and extreme weather events,” said Lambo Kanagaratn­am, Optus managing director of network.

“Our collaborat­ion with CSIRO has provided us with the analysis to allow us to target the best ways to protect the network where it could be most vulnerable.”

Informatio­n on topography, fuel load, vegetation type and bushfire weather severity in each location will be used to develop maps which then inform how to make the infrastruc­ture more resilient.

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