Australia — TELSTRA today launched a mobile telephone exchange to work in disaster threats such as bushfires.
The telco said the $200,000 Mobile Exchange on Wheels (MEOW) was the first of its kind in the country.
It was “a simple and highly portable, fully functional telephone exchange”, specifically designed to provide communications to disaster areas.
Telstra engineers developed it after the devastating bushfires on Black Saturday.
At an official event in bushfire-struck Marysville, Victoria, David Moffatt, group managing director Telstra Consumer, said the launch of the MEOW was an example of Telstras ability to use technology in response to natural disasters.
Telstra has a proud history of responding to natural disasters, enabling damage to be repaired and temporary network equipment deployed as quickly as possible to affected areas to ensure communities and emergency services stay connected,” he said.
The importance of communications is never more apparent than during and after a disaster.
“So we often deploy portable base-stations to enhance mobile coverage in affected areas and to provide broadband to emergency service organisations and relief centres.
To further improve our disaster-response capabilities, today Im proud to unveil the Telstra Mobile Exchange on Wheels, a portable, ADSL2+ enabled exchange designed specifically to respond to disasters such as the Black Saturday bushfires.
This device the first of its kind in Australia can be quickly deployed to provide temporary fixed-line communications, and complements Telstras other disaster-response equipment, such as Telstras mobile cell on wheels (COW), a portable mobile base station, used extensively throughout bushfire-affected regions of Victoria.”
MEOW weighed three tonnes and so was light-enough to be towed behind a 4WD or light truck, and could be deployed within just 30 minutes.
Once on-site two technicians could activate the device which could then provide 450 telephone services and more than 300 ADSL2+ services at speeds of up to 20Mbps.
The mobile exchange would be housed at Croydon in Victoria, where it would be “always connected” to Telstras network.
Being “always connected meant that it was alarmed and monitored, so any equipment issues could be identified and fixed, before deployment.
The launch of the MEOW also marked the opening of four new exchanges that have been re-built or enhanced since the Black Saturday bushfires.
Including the new exchanges located in Marysville, Narbethong, Kinglake and Kinglake West Telstra said it had invested $15 million since Black Saturday to repair and upgrade its networks in affected communities.
Telstra was also working to install:
· New base stations at Kinglake West, Dixons Creek, Arthurs Creek and Strathewen
· Additional antennas at existing mobile sites to enhance coverage through the Kinglake and Kinglake East areas
· New towers in Narbethong and Castella (Kinglake East) to provide additional Next G coverage