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Business case study

Country Fire Authority (CFA) Hoppers Crossing

Why mobile was a game-changer for emergency response.

The local fire station is a pillar of every community. Whenever there's a fire, Victorians know their local Country Fire Authority (CFA) brigade is there when they need them.

Hoppers Crossings CFA serves the suburb of Hoppers Crossing, an outer suburb 24km south-west of Melbourne's CBD. They also serve the neighbouring suburbs of Werribee, Wyndham Vale, Point Cook, and Truganina. These are some of Melbourne's fastest-growing regions, and with that comes a wide variety of emergencies and an ever-expanding community to keep safe.

In times of large-scale emergency, most notably during bushfire season, the brigade extends its response to surrounding regional areas as far west as the Otways and as far north as Macedon. They're also always on standby for deployment throughout Victoria should the going get tough.

Mobile connectivity is essential for effective and streamlined communication during critical emergency responses. The Hoppers Crossing CFA needed a reliable mobile service with enough data to ensure a continuous connection in the line of duty.

The challenge

Hoppers Crossing Fire Brigade has 72 members in its ranks - all dedicated volunteers. Firefighters are constantly on the move. Between routine safety checks and emergency response, it's not uncommon for CFA volunteers to be on the road all day.

During fire response, brigade officers, firefighters and operational support rely on mobile phones to stay in touch with each other.

"Mobile services uphold and advance our operational capabilities", 4th Lieutenant Mitch Bevan said.

Without a reliable mobile service available to the Hoppers Crossing CFA team at the fireground (the scene of the fire), responding to ever-changing emergencies would be a far greater challenge.

As the brigade relies on community funding, Mitch said it was important for the brigade to have a cost-effective mobile data solution.

A challenge for our brigade is ensuring our funding was going where it needed to - supporting critical operations … We couldn't afford to overpay for data. But more importantly, we couldn't afford to sacrifice a reliable mobile network either

Mitch Bevan4th Lieutenant, Hoppers Crossing CFA

The solution

Mitch reached out to Aussie Broadband, who provided the Hoppers Crossing CFA with six mobile SIM services: Three phones for each of their emergency vehicles, a duty lieutenant phone, and two tablets.

The vehicle phones serve as crucial contact points for vehicles on the fireground. This way, it didn't matter which firefighter was responding on any given day or time. With a dedicated mobile plan for the brigade, the CFA always had reliable mobile connectivity available to its officers.

The duty lieutenant's phone is the central contact for the brigade and the community when there's no one at the fire station.

And the tablet SIMs support operations. They enable firefighters to access vital information both at the station and on the fireground. As such, while the other mobile services in their fleet are "basic" services with 5GB of data a month (and unlimited calls and texts), the tablet SIMs have 10GB of data each.

But thanks to data sharing, every mobile service can access the total data allowance of the six-SIM fleet: 32GB a month. That way, individuals operating the duty phones can access extra data should they need it, no matter where the other mobiles are. Because in a critical situation, there's no time to connect to a mobile hotspot!

For Mitch, what sealed the deal was that Aussie Broadband's service was more akin to a partnership than that of a traditional telco.

Aussie Broadband's community impact arm and the reputation among our members who already used their services highlighted their potential as more than just a provider. We saw them as a partner in our mission.

Mitch Bevan4th Lieutenant, Hoppers Crossing CFA

And with finances tight, the cost-effective data was a welcome bonus.

"We previously had mobile services. We decided to switch to Aussie Broadband due to the increasing demand for more data plans and the cost-effectiveness of their offerings."

The result

With reliable mobile connectivity across their fleet, the Hoppers Crossing CFA now have a reliable connection between firefighters and the community wherever they are.

And according to Mitch, Aussie Broadband's mobile solution has profoundly impacted how the brigade runs.

"Aussie Broadband's mobile plans have been a game-changer for our operations. They have enhanced our communication capabilities on the fireground, streamlined our response processes, and enabled us to leverage technology to better serve our community in emergencies … Aussie Broadband's commitment to us and the community has made them an ideal partner for us."

Since mobile services are an essential part of the fire brigade's capabilities, they can't afford slow service. That's why Mitch values Aussie Broadband's prompt, friendly customer service. It's something they can count on should any issue arise.

Our experience with Aussie Broadband has been extremely positive. The few times we've needed assistance, the team were readily available and exceptionally helpful.

Mitch Bevan4th Lieutenant, Hoppers Crossing CFA

For the Hoppers Crossing CFA, mobile services mean a better fire response. And for the Hoppers Crossing community, that's all that matters.

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