Tech vendors dig deep for Qld

Technology companies nationwide have dug deep, giving more than just money to victims of the Queensland flood disaster, while telcos have worked around the clock to keep vital service going in the area.
Written by Luke Hopewell, Contributor

Technology companies nationwide have dug deep, giving more than just money to victims of the Queensland flood disaster, while telcos have worked around the clock to keep vital service going in the area.

Hands in pocket

(Back pocket image by Caitlin Regan, CC2.0)

Technology companies have given their time, expertise and products to help out those affected by the floods with software, hardware and storage high on the list of donations.

Microsoft Australia today gave businesses and individuals access to its Azure cloud platform for back-up of mission-critical data.

"We're proposing a very simple approach: backing up files to a local virtual hard disk and uploading those files into Windows Azure storage," Microsoft Australia said on its MSDN blog, adding that accounts only lasted for 30 days with no service level agreement attached.

Meanwhile, Optus is digging deep, working with the Red Cross to distribute 1500 prepaid mobile phones to evacuation centres in Queensland. The phones will be provided to those without telecommunications access and come preloaded with $1000 of credit, which is set to last 186 days before expiring.

Backup and hosting vendors StorageCraft and VMVault teamed up to provide flood relief, offering victims safe storage in Brisbane.

"Our servers are high and dry in Wharf Street, Brisbane, availing our clients with uninterrupted access to their virtual servers, as we are equipped with multiple redundancies in all primary systems including power, UPS, network and cooling," said VMVault spokesperson Radek Tkaczyk.

Telstra has also provided help, offering an assistance package to those affected, which included holding over fixed-line numbers and email addresses disconnected from flooded exchanges. Flooded exchanges have become a problem for the telco, after it was cut off from 262 of its exchange facilities as of this morning.

Microsoft has donated $10,000 to the premier's flood relief appeal and is matching staff contributions dollar-for-dollar to the Australian Red Cross, Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA) as well as the premier's appeal.

Vodafone has contributed $100,000 to the premier's appeal, with Crazy John's kicking in $50,000 and Telstra pouring in a massive $1 million. Pollenizer also said it had donated to the appeal, but didn't disclose the amount.

Bing Lee also contributed $10,000 after a controversial social-media campaign saw it trading Facebook "Likes" for donations.

Has your organisation given to the floods relief? Tell us about it below in the talkback.

Telco service update

Telcos continue to work around the clock to keep vital mobile and fixed-line coverage going in light of the flood disaster.

Optus is working to install backup generators to ailing base stations running on batteries, as is Vodafone-Hutchison Australia (VHA).

"VHA has been using helicopters to fly in backup generators and diesel fuel to network areas that have lost power in an effort to maintain mobile network services," the telco said on its blog. However, it did say that the floods had caused outages to some suburbs in and around Toowoomba and Grantham after water affected a second transmission facility.

Optus is experiencing mobile interruptions and outages in Kilcoy, the Lockyer Valley, Ipswich, Toowoomba and Brisbane, with additional HFC interruptions in the Ipswich area.

Optus also advised that its Sydney to Brisbane optical fibre links had experienced troubles earlier due to flooding, but it had successfully switched to a backup coastal link.

Meanwhile, Telstra has rolled out its portable mobile base stations to supplement Next G coverage in affected areas, which include the Lockyer Valley, Brisbane Valley, Ipswich and some parts of the Brisbane central business district. Darling Downs and the Sunshine Coast are also experiencing fixed and internet interruptions. The telco has also made 100 pay phones in the Brisbane area free for local and STD calls.

Today, peak Australian electrical industry body, the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), said the clean-up and recovery work required following the Queensland floods could take as long as six months to complete.

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