Telcos brace for Cyclone Yasi

Telcos are battening down the hatches in preparation for Tropical Cyclone Yasi expected to hit northern Queensland this morning.

Telcos are battening down the hatches in preparation for Tropical Cyclone Yasi expected to hit northern Queensland this morning.

Cyclone Yasi

(NASA Sees Large Tropical Cyclone Yasi Headed Toward Queensland, Australia image by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, CC2.0)

Telstra said in a statement released yesterday that the company would be temporarily closing call centres based in north Queensland as the company had activated its cyclone disaster plan in Queensland prior to Cyclone Yasi crossing the coast.

"We are monitoring the network closely in preparation for Cyclone Yasi," Telstra regional service director John Parkin said. "Standby equipment is available in key regional centres but we know from our experience with other cyclones that the greatest difficulty with restoring services is access to mains power after a destructive weather event."

The company said it would ensure that key exchanges were free of debris, and would manage its workforce and potentially redeploy workers in areas that could be potentially hit by the cyclone.

"Telstra operates a diverse network, however there will always be factors such as destruction of infrastructure or power outages caused by winds and localised flooding that may have the potential to interfere with the provision of services," Parkin said.

"We continue to work closely with Emergency Service organisations and local District Disaster Management Groups to ensure we are a practical part of preparations for Yasi."

Parkin warned customers to be prepared for network coverage that may suffer during the cyclone due to a high volume of calls being made or due to damage to the network infrastructure.

"In case of the worst, Telstra is well prepared to repair and restore our network and assist Emergency Service organisations," he said.

Optus told ZDNet Australia that it too was keeping tabs on Yasi.

"Our network engineers are monitoring Cyclone Yasi in North Queensland and preparing to deal with any service interruptions," the company said in a statement.

This morning the company also issued a statement stating that it had begun moving network resources to the predicted impact areas.

"This includes utilising our satellite infrastructure via a portable satellite base station as well as additional power generators and spare parts that can be used to restore any damaged infrastructure," the company said. "Optus continues to work closely with emergency service organisations to ensure rapid response to any network related incidents."

The company would also provide internet access and satellite phones to allow residents in affected areas to make free voice calls. Mobile phone chargers will also be provided those locations.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia was contacted for comment but had not responded at the time of writing.

Update 11:52am: Updated to include extra information from Optus.


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