Emergency tracking centre to help first responders and telco carriers stay connected

By Melissa Coade

December 12, 2021

sydney business district
The Telecommunications Operations Centre is based in Sydney.(Chee-Onn Leong/Adobe)

NSW has opened a new Telecommunications Operations Centre in Sydney that will receive real-time information about critical infrastructure during emergencies such as floods and bushfires.

The facility will equip the state’s Telecommunications Emergency Management Unit (TEMU) with accurate updates that can be relayed to firefighters and first responders during natural emergencies about the location of at-risk critical infrastructure.

The managing director of the NSW Telco Authority, Kylie De Courteney, said crews could then be deployed to protect that infrastructure.

“This is an important achievement in our commitment to providing emergency services with critical communications capabilities when and where they need it most,” De Courteney said. 

“The people of NSW rely on mobile phone coverage to stay up to date during emergencies and protecting equipment such as mobile phone towers and Public Safety Network (PSN) sites from a fire front or rising flood waters is vital to keeping communities safe and connected during these events.”

According to the NSW Department of Customer Service, special innovative technologies and software have been installed at the centre to deliver better collaboration between state agencies and telco carriers, with a new Joint Intelligence Management System (JIMS) will feed into the TEMU’s information gathering, monitoring, data analysis and geospatial mapping work. 

The centre will also offer ‘facilitation capabilities’ for long term operations — such as during the COVID-19 pandemic – that demands coordination between multiple agencies.  

“Next to Australia’s triple zero emergency hotline, the PSN is the most critical communications network in NSW,” De Courteney said.

“The JIMS platform allows us to see what is happening and use that information to protect telecommunications infrastructure.”

About $1.4 billion has been committed by the NSW government to better protect the community by expanding the PSN, representing what it says is the largest investment in critical communications infrastructure in a generation.


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