Warrnambool fire plan sees Telstra cut carbon emissions

Telstra has implemented all recommendations from a report into a fire that took out the company's Warrnambool exchange in 2012.

Telstra has used the recommendations of a report into a fire in a Warrnambool exchange to overhaul more than 188 exchange sites.

The fire in November 2012 was caused by an electrical fault in or around the maintenance control room of the exchange. It resulted in more than 65,000 services being cut off around the area in Victoria for a number of weeks.

61,856 PSTN phone lines, 14,409 ADSL services, 56 ISDN services, 40 3G mobile base stations, 138 IP metropolitan area network services, and 13 Telstra direct services were cut off as a result of the fire.

In his report released in March 2013, Telstra's director of fixed and data access engineering David Piltz made 22 recommendations, including suggesting that when exchanges are inspected in regional Australia, there should be thermal imaging of cabling in ceilings to detect overheating or faults in electrical wires, and for staff to be trained on the requirement to close smoke and fire doors.

In a blog post on Monday, Plitz said all 22 recommendations had been implemented by Telstra, including bringing the exchange back in full working order.

He said that over 118 sites using similar technologies to the Warrnambool exchange had been targeted for overhaul after the report. Telstra de-powered redundant network gear at these sites, resulting in a reduction in Telstra's carbon emissions by 2,000 tonnes, equating to a reduced energy consumption of 2,090MWh over the last 12 months.

Transmission redundancy was also improved out to 49 sites, meaning that Telstra has more options to direct traffic when one site goes down.

Prior to the fire, Warrnambool acted as a switching node and transmission hub for Telstra. The fire impacted 135 other exchanges across south-western Victoria, affecting 85 schools, 20 hospitals, 27 police stations, 92 fire stations, and 14 State Emergency Service units.

The company has also increased the number of mobile Cells on Wheels (CoWs) and satellite mobile exchanges on wheels (SAT MEoW). Telstra's largest SAT MEoW can service 2,000 fixed and 768 ADSL2+ lines, and provide 3G and 4G coverage, Plitz said.