As bushfires tore through Western Australia earlier this year, the Shire of Mundaring set up an incident control centre at its indoor sports facility, Mundaring Arena. The centre housed the bushfire emergency coordination and response effort, which included a number of state and local agencies. State Premier Mark McGowan even visited and conducted a news brief from the site.
The situation was critical and constantly evolved as the council and other agencies worked hard to keep communication operational, meet the needs of the people and animals that were evacuated, and continued fighting the fire that was burning out of control. With strong winds and high heat intensity, the fire spread to the neighbouring City of Swan, with more than 500 firefighters working day and night to contain the blaze.
While basic Wi-Fi is usually provided at Mundaring Arena – normally kept to 25Mbps – it rapidly became apparent the bandwidth wasn’t coping with the increased usage, as agencies struggled to get critical news and advice online and access information.
With the emergency response coordination heavily dependent on a functioning Wi-Fi service, the Shire feared it might take days to provision higher bandwidth to the site – days they didn’t have to spare.
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Shire of Mundaring Manager Information Technology Melanie Ponnan called Aussie Broadband to find out if it was possible to provision extra bandwidth to the site and how long it would take to become operational.
The Aussie Broadband team immediately put the order through via our industry-first Carbon platform – which is available to our business and enterprise customers to use. Within the hour, the service was expanded to 250Mbps – all the Shire had to do was make a port change!
The Shire was able to cancel the increased bandwidth after the event and then re-provision it again, as the facility is now being used to coordinate the bushfire recovery and clean-up process.
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Clear, fast communication can be the difference between life and death in emergency situations. Bushfires move quickly and can change directions without notice, which is why emergency coordination efforts need to be underpinned by connectivity that is agile and adaptable.
With Aussie Broadband, the Shire of Mundaring had the flexibility to rapidly provision and scale-down bandwidth as needed. Under traditional telco models, the Shire would have had to put in an order and wait for the service to be provisioned – potentially taking days to action, if possible.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be an emergency situation to alter or provision new services quickly with Aussie Broadband – our industry-leading business portal Carbon, which underpinned our rapid response to the Shire of Mundaring’s request for increased bandwidth, is available for our customers to use. It puts the same diagnostic and provisioning tools available to our staff in the hands of our business and enterprise customers.
– Melanie Ponnan, Manager Information Technology, Shire of Mundaring.
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