Telstra sends comms-on-wheels to Tas bushfires

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Telstra sends comms-on-wheels to Tas bushfires
A mobile exchange on wheels.

A truck intended to demonstrate the capabilities of the National Broadband Network has been repurposed as a communications hub in bushfire-affected Tasmania.

According to Telstra representatives, around 500 landlines are still down, along with a similar number of internet services. Mobile phone coverage has also been affected, but not to the same degree, the carrier said.

Telstra's NBN demonstration trailer has been deployed at the Sorrell Evacuation Centre, providing a place for affected residents to access phone, internet and portable-device recharging points.

The carrier noted that due to congestion in Sorrell, it has prioritised voice over mobile data services.

Telstra has also shipped a mobile exchange on wheels to the island state on an overnight ferry service. The EoW is intended to provide supplementary communications services in the event of exchange damage. The mobile exchange is a trailer-sized unit connected to ADSL2+ and capable of providing 450 landline and 330 ADSL 2+ services to affected residents.

Representatives also said the company has a mobile Satellite Cell on Wheels (SatCOW) on standby to provide mobile phone services in bushfire-affected areas.

Services in Dunalley, Nubeena and Koonya have been reinstated using high capacity generators at exchanges impacted by the fires, the telco said.

The focus for the next few days is to deploy further generators to remote sites and repair fire-damaged cabling. 

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