• An Essential First Step
  • More Than a Decade of in the Making
  • Highlighting the Importance of PSMB

Dialling an emergency number

The Australian government has long since promised its citizens of a nationwide public safety mobile broadband, or PSMB capability, that would help them should any emergency strike, especially during intense weather conditions and similar events.

An Essential First Step

Although the promise was first made in 2009, the Australian government is slowly making sure that they would fulfil it and now, Aussies are a step closer to having the PSMB capability as three large providers in the country has signed a contract with the NSW government, who is spearheading the project in behalf of the Commonwealth, and all the state and territory governments.

The three providers in question are Optus, TPG Telecom, and Nokia, which would be delivering the first feasibility trial for the national emergency mobile broadband network.

The trial is an important first step as the results would be used to develop and then test the technology and eventual design of the PSMB capability that would ultimately provide an interoperable network to the citizens of Australia.

More Than a Decade of in the Making

The royal commission into the national natural disaster arrangement that was published last year highlighted “multiple extended delays,” which might have been the reason for the slow progress.

Despite being in the card since 2009, it was only in 2016 when the government decided to create a committee of state and territory as well as commonwealth officials that would work on how to create the network.

Communications would still rely on land and mobile radio networks in times of disasters, which is unreliable during such emergency cases.

Because of that, there were calls from different sectors, asking the governments to expedite the process of the nationwide public safety mobile broadband, which could make communications and arrangements during extreme natural disasters better.

Highlighting the Importance of PSMB

Among the three companies, TPG Telecom has been appointed as the leader after it said that it had worked extensively to create “superior multi-operator solution for the PSMB network.”

“The trial will allow for the exhaustive testing of the multi-operator service delivery model to ensure it can provide the critical communications support need for frontline staff during emergencies and natural disasters,” said TPG chief Iñaki Berroeta.

Berroeta highlighted the bushfires that happened last year, which was so devastating that other countries had to help Australia fight the raging fire, as well as the most recent floods in NSW and in South East Queensland.

According to the TPG chief, the recent disasters only show the need of emergency responders to have access to real-time information so that they could make important decisions quickly in times when even small delays could risk hundreds of thousands of people.

Victor Dominello, the NSW customer service minister, echoed Berroeta’s concern, further saying that the upcoming feasibility trial would be “a real progress” to what emergency responders need and want.

Moreover, the federal agriculture, drought, and emergency management minister of Australia, David Littleproud said that the plan would decrease both “organisational and geographical boundaries,” meaning individuals within emergency responders and across such services would be able to communicate reliably and exchange information in real-time.