Three months to rebuild Queensland comms: Telstra

Short term response expected within days, but telco warns of long stretch ahead

It will take three months to fully restore Telstra’s communications infrastructure, the telco indicated this week.

In the fourth update to a rolling blog entry on its role in the Queensland flood disaster, director of the telco’s service delivery for the northern region, John Parkin, said flood water and power outages continued to be the biggest challenge to restoring services in flood-affected regions.

“This has led to an increase in the number of customers experiencing issues with their landline, mobile and broadband/Foxtel services,” he wrote.

All major Australian telcos have worked at retaining services throughout the past week, but have continued to face issues with congestion, power outages and service disruptions.

Battery and generator-based backup power has been rolled out where possible to maintain mobile and fixed network coverage, but Vodafone, Optus and Telstra have all faced difficulties at some stage in recent days.

Telstra declared 262 ADSL and telephone exchanges unsafe for technicians, further delaying repairs to fixed line services but in the blog update, Parkin said repairs would be attempted in the areas of Brisbane Valley, Lockyer Valley, Ipswich, and Gympie/Pomona later Thursday.

However, some areas were still under investigation, including the Grantham exchange where Telstra was only permitted with a police escort.

The telco’s recovery plan includes restoring immediate, short-term service within three days via backup power, restored power from utility Energex and repairs where possible to exchanges. Telstra will also deploy 130 extra staff as part of the recovery, which will help to roll out portable exchanges and mobile base stations as a temporary fix.

Temporary network restoration, according to Parkin, would be possible within three weeks, but full restoration of all affected infrastructure could take up to three months.

Follow James Hutchinson on Twitter: @j_hutch

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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