Optus, Voda still lag on emergency alerts

Optus, Voda still lag on emergency alerts

Summary: Come next bushfire season, Telstra mobile subscribers may be the only ones to receive location-based disaster alerts when the service rolls out, as negotiations with Optus and Vodafone are ongoing.

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TOPICS: Telcos, Optus, Telstra
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Come next bushfire season, Telstra mobile subscribers may be the only ones to receive location-based disaster alerts when the service rolls out, as negotiations with Optus and Vodafone are ongoing.

(Munich Airport image by James and Alex BonTempo, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The new location-based alerts system builds on the existing national warning system by taking into account a user's location when sending emergency information, rather than sending a blanket alert that could endanger or cause panic to those who are safe.

Telstra, Optus and Vodafone will all need to commit to the system for it to work, and the Victorian Government is leading negotiations with all three carriers on behalf of the nation.

However, during Budget Estimates last week, the secretary of the Attorney-General's Department, Roger Wilkins, revealed that while Telstra has signed up to the system, and the technology for Telstra customers will be in place from November this year, negotiations with Optus and Vodafone have still not come to a close.

Therefore, while the existing alert systems will continue to work, when it is upgraded in November, only Telstra customers will receive the location-based alerts during an emergency.

The updated alert system is not intended to be a complete replacement, but the lack of the two other carriers will undermine its intended role to have a consistent, national approach. Until Optus and Vodafone sign on to the system and update their respective networks, their customers will have to gain emergency information from the radio or emergency services websites — or, alternatively, by asking a Telstra subscriber in the same area.

Topics: Telcos, Optus, Telstra

Michael Lee

About Michael Lee

A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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4 comments
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  • negotiations!?? What do you mean the gov is negotiating with these telcos for. Its time they stopped playing nice and said too bad, this is the way it is and pull your finger out. If you want a licence to sell mobile services in australia you have to do this and deal with it, we are not paying you to do it. Cause we all know that "negotiations" really means they want money to do this for the gov!
    level380
    • Mhmmmm and yes being and extortionate overlord is the best way to get things done. Both of these companies are smaller than Telstra here, but much larger than Telstra on a World-wide scale.

      This sort of stuff needs to go up a chain of management which takes time. Like it or not, business works that way and Australia isnt a dictatorship.
      Master_T[RG]
  • There already exists a system in Australia (that Telstra is aware of and has evaluated) that will provide bushfire protection for all Australians.. This is of national importance and involves human lives and safety.. Teltra should drop their "monopolistic" attitude and employ the CLEW alert system......
    Smokey The Bear
    • and CLEW operates independently of Telco provider... it is a system developed exactly for this situation
      Smokey The Bear