Whitsundays Mayor Andrew Willcox called for the need for communication continuity devices at the June 26 council meeting, calling it
Whitsundays Mayor Andrew Willcox called for the need for communication continuity devices at the June 26 council meeting, calling it "a risk to rural, remote and isolated communities”.

CONCERNED: Will NBN be reliable in a natural disaster?

THE Whitsunday Regional Council is concerned that communication may not be possible in a natural disaster.

The council has written to NBN Co and parliamentarians, calling for a review into the region's lack of NBN communication service continuity during a power outage.

If there was to be a long-term power outage, such as seen during Tropical Cyclone Debbie in 2017, locals may be unable to communicate as NBN and its services require continual power.

Whitsundays Mayor Andrew Willcox called for the need for communication continuity devices at the June 26 council meeting, calling it "a risk to rural, remote and isolated communities".

"What happens is that when telecommunication goes through the NBN, it needs power to work," Cr Willcox said.

"On the old copper system you could call even when the power was out which meant that locals had communication when they were in need.

"In Cyclone Debbie we had isolated communities that were unable to communicate effectively.

"We want to make sure that doesn't happen again."

Cr Willcox said that he hoped there would be a long term plan put in place that would involve continuity devices such as uninterrupted power supplies or generators to accommodate any interruptions in power supplies.

"It's not just a call for action in the NBN, it's a call for action on all communication means across the region including mobile towers," Cr Willcox said.

"We want back-up plans for all modes of communication.

"When Debbie hit, we had mobile towers working, but even they ended up running out of reserve power too.

"In the larger cities they would be on it straight away because of the larger population impact.

"We want to make sure that the Whitsunday have the same response."

The council has written to the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Finance Senator Mathias Cormann; Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen and NBN Co chief executive officer Stephen Rue for comment.


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