Aussie Broadband tracks customers affected by bushfires

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Aussie Broadband tracks customers affected by bushfires

Aussie Broadband has come up with a solution to help out its customers impacted by the devastating bushfires in order to offer assistance.

Software development manager David Barr wrote a program that matches data from state fire services on affected “burn areas” with AussieBB’s own customer data.

“Aussie Broadband is based in the bush, and many employees, our families and friends have all faced bush fires,” said Barr. “I felt that I couldn’t do anything to help with the fires directly. So this was one way that I knew I could help.”

The software retrieves data published on the Country Fire Authority and NSW Rural Fire Service’s websites to cross-reference with NBN premises in those areas. It then locates AussieBB’s own NBN customers in those areas and automatically pauses billing if their internet connection has dropped. It also recognises premises in affected areas that still have an active connection.

Barr initially developed the software after bush fires in Victoria in February 2019.  He noticed these maps use an open standard called GeoJSON to implement “burn area” geospatial information.

AussieBB said it has identified 71 affected services in the past few days.

“It wasn’t difficult to check if any of our customers had lost their internet connectivity,” said Barr. We were able to reach out and offer them credit and other support. It only took a few minutes using the technology to gather the necessary data.”

“One of our strongly-held values is be good to people. “We wanted to let our customers facing tough times know that we’re thinking of them, and also that we’re taking action. This technology enables us to do this.”

The telco is also offering discounts and services valued up to $250 to customers that have lost their homes or have otherwise been significantly affected. AussieBB also offers discounts and services up to $80 for volunteers working for extended periods of time.

The company also made a $5000 donation to the Red Cross bushfire appeal.

“We have several members of staff who are volunteer firefighters and are currently assisting with the fires," said AussieBB managing director Phil Britt. "A huge thank you all the emergency services for their efforts in helping to tackle these awful fires,” Phil said.

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