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Boots & all Telstra Operations summer 2010/11


As we head into a new summer, I think it is always good to reflect on and learn from what has been. It is also good to remember how our people tried their best to keep communities connected across …

As we head into a new summer, I think it is always good to reflect on and learn from what has been. It is also good to remember how our people tried their best to keep communities connected across this wide land in summers past.

Last summer brought with it some of the most devastating and frightening weather events Australians had ever seen, from bushfires to cyclones, storms and flooding.

Published in Technology , Business , Sports
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  • 1. BOOTS & ALL: SUMMER 2010/11Firsthand accounts of how the Telstra Operations teamprepared for and responded to the summer’s devastating events.
  • 2. CONTENTSThe Australian summer 2010/11 brought with it bushfires,cyclones, storms and flooding – all of which were typicalevents for this time of year. However, combine these with anunprecedented La Niña event and you have an extraordinarysummer.Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures and somewonderful stories were being told about how the TelstraOperations team were responding. It is for this reason that a‘call to action’ was delivered throughout this group, asking theteam to share their experiences.This book is therefore dedicated to recognising the hard workand tireless efforts of those within Telstra Operations.This team is responsible for all aspects of the design,engineering, architecture, construction and operation ofTelstra networks, technology and information technology, plusthe delivery of customer services across those networks.It is acknowledged that the company’s response to thesummer events was an enormous Telstra-wide effort andspecial thanks to colleagues within the Consumer & CountryWide, Enterprise & Government, Telstra Business and theStrategy & Corporate Services business units.These Telstra groups offered invaluable support to strickencommunities and businesses, both large and small, includingkeeping those impacted well-informed concerning progressduring Telstra’s restoration, reparation and reconstructionphases.The owner of ‘the boot’ on the front cover of this book is technician Rob White.Rob is pictured here replacing pillar strips at St Lucia (Qld), 19/01/11.Boots & All: Summer 2010/11 has been collated and edited by Sandra Mobbs,Strategy and Corporate Services.
  • 3. CONTENTSMatt Totterdell and Roger Williams replacing a 400 pair copper cable, Carnarvon (WA). Their team manager at the time advised, “These guys had just got changed out of their wet clothes five minutes before this downpour.”
  • 4. CONTENTS CONTENTSMessages from Telstra’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer 6 PM offers heartfelt thanks to volunteers 192 Salvos emergency volunteers recognised 193Introduction 10 Rod and the Reject Shop 194 An invitation to an informal event with His Royal Highness Prince William 195Our approach to storytelling 14 Letter from the Federal Member for Wright 196Firsthand accounts from the Telstra Operations team 18 Our people’s community contribution recognised 197Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst 20 Last words from the Telstra Operations leadership team 200Central East Region (New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory) 30 Note from Strategy and Corporate Services editor, Sandra Mobbs:South East Region (Victoria, Tasmania) 50 ‘Boots & All’ has captured over a hundred stories, recording an unprecedentedNorth East Region (Queensland) 92 moment of this company’s history – the summer of 2010/11.The comprehensiveCentral West Region (Western Australia, South Australia & Northern Territory) 158 nature of this publication has only been made possible due to the generous spirit of the Telstra Operations team. Therefore, thank you to our storytellers and subjects(See lists of all stories, under each of the headings above, on the following pages.) for giving up their time to share their experiences and providing consent to use images. My thanks also to Phill Sporton, Executive Director Service Delivery, forLearning from experience 176 initially commissioning this employee engagement project in March 2011.Past ideas and innovations • Raised earth platforms 179 • Mobile Exchange on Wheels or the MEoW® 180 • Cell on Wheels (CoW) and Satellite Cell on Wheels (SatCoW) 180 • TECKs and TREKs 181Ideas and innovations due to summer 2010/11 • RIM to CMUX conversion plate 182 • New website keeps customers informed during outages and disasters 183Community, customer and industry recognition of ourpeople’s efforts 184CFA says thanks 186Floods disrupt National Relay Service 187Queensland department thanks Telstra for speedy response 188Commendations for quick action 189A ‘Big Thank You’ from Volunteering Queensland 190Anglicare warmed by quick and relevant contribution 191
  • 5. CONTENTSHoping for the best, preparing for the worst 20 Working in waders John Pridgeon 66Prior planning and preparation leads to rapid An extraordinary effort Terry Scott 67network restoration Grant Nicholson 22 A tough couple of months Ian Baker 70On the ground in bushfire exercise Joe Camilleri 24 The hard yards Daryl Crosbie 72Unprecedented events tests capabilities Phil Astle 26 Charlton isolation Peter Craig 74How to prepare for network impact caused Volunteering with the CFA Roger Smith 76 Bridgewater underwater Tony Ryan 77by a Cat 5 cyclone Pat Rutter 28 Getting stuck in John Hossack 78Central East Region (New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory) 30 The fastest CoW in the country Ron Wilson 80 Saved from a real dirty job Daryl Beseler 81Walls of water Grant Carroll 32 Tack’ling the tough stuff John Hewett 82Riverina-Murray recognition Loretta Willaton 34 Fire and flood John Fixter 84The return of a slippery customer Con Parslow 35 Doing the nightshift Michael Ennor 85Lightning storms, floods and road closures Bill Lloyd 36 Just out of harm’s way Brad Crocker 86Back to business David Gillett 38 Kerang customer rapt Brad Shaw 87Washed out Terry Walsh 39 What goes around comes around Janet Mackey 88Call Central weathers the storm David Coxhell and Natalie O’Malley 40 Telstra blokes everywhere Craig Lawry 90Late night deliveries Terry Lines 42 Record rain and river crossings Matt Shaw 91Proudest moments Danny Freeman 43Left-field solutions go a long way Stephen Chadd 44 North East Region (Queensland) 92Many rivers to cross Peter Chapple 46 Ready for action Malcolm McKellar 94Find the fibre access point Greg Byrne 48 Flying in to fix fibre Peter Nash 95 Quick fix connects customers Peter Spence 96South East Region (Victoria, Tasmania) 50 The magnificent seven Shaun Walliss 97Wet or what? Warren Shean 52 Homeward bound Mark Graham 98Copping it early Ian Baker, Des Ryan and Trevor Goudie 54 The Army, Police and Dave toBit of bother Laurie Barber 56 the rescue David Webb and Craig Bartlett 99Incident Control Centre support Nick Marotta 58 Exchange wrapped in plastic Steve Strugnell and Shane Golding 100Sending in the reinforcements Ken Hodgson 59 Toowoomba – an insider’s view Sue Ikin and Dave Marshman 101A changed vacation Rob Dahllof 60 Flash flooding hits with no notice Peter Sticklen 102East coast focus for Tassie Glenn Turner 62 Meeting the challenge head-on John Parkin 104North-west coast focus for Tassie Ian Pickering 64 Keep calm and carry on Craig Bartlett 106Better safe than sorry Alistair Cowie 65 Staying the course Greg Anderson 108
  • 6. CONTENTSBrisbane CBD shuts down Lynne Bell 110 Central West Region (Western Australia, South AustraliaAbove and beyond in Rocky Peter Spence 111 and Northern Territory) 158Capacity request met in difficult circumstances Neil Francis 112 The Stockport CoW Peter Andreopoulos 160When your road becomes a boat ramp Susan Kuppens 114 100-year floods Alan Brown 161Community comes together Shanne Wright 116 What did you do over Christmas 2010? Tim Leahy 164The Kholo/Mt Crosby ‘break and enter’ incident Peter Leonard 118 Home Sweet Home Mick Cooper 166Fault frog finds infamy Noel Hand 120 Fires at Lake Clifton Peter Old 167Queensland Flood Relief Hotline John Tarlinton 121 Great Northern Highway disappears Mick Cooper 168Coming to terms with Grantham Peter Scherer 122 Snakes, bugs and crocs Neil Cooke 170Solution-oriented tech takes charge Tym Browne 124 Public support outstanding Shane Caratti 171What a weekend! Steve Burke 126 The Kimberley cougar strikes again Joe Ganino 172A surreal experience Heidi Pfeffer 128 Just keep going – a poem Tony Hunter 174Snakes on joint go viral Pete Milward 129Who let the CoWs out? Michael Steele and Aaron Kong 130Pitching in Paul McCarthy 132Help from across the ditch Malcolm McKellar 134Oh geez – this is real! Paul Montiford 135Thunderbird operators are go! Graham Ford 136Roadside cabinet restoration work Michael Steele 138MacGyver has nothing on our guys Phillip Stringini 139My night in Townsville Exchange Wayne Watling 140Ground Control John Shepherd 142War Room approach hits the mark Dru Dingwall 143Ugly but interesting – about our exchanges John Dempster 144Bill the builder comes to the rescue Ross Auger 148View from Cardwell tower Chris Frost 150BAM and it’s gone Mick Young 151Rick to the rescue Joanne Flood 152Mark gets up close and personal Mark O’Connell 153SatCoW flies to Palm Island Clint Dickson 154Whipping up support Stephen Bowen 156Stepping up Mark Pettiford 157
  • 7. CONTENTSIt’s been a hard day. Dennis Dregmans at Moggill (Qld), 25/01/11.
  • 9. CONTENTS A message from Telstra’s Chairman Keeping communities connected during times of natural disaster demands a huge commitment, and often personal risk, from our technicians and support staff in the field. The stories you will read in this book are only a small fraction of what we as a company contributed to the disaster response and recovery, but they highlight the lengths our people will go to keep our customers and their communities connected. Catherine Livingstone: Telstra Chairman The dedication and commitment of Telstra’s people truly shines during difficult times. The Board was regularly briefed about the challenges Telstra crews faced and how, in collaboration with emergency service agencies, they supported local communities. On behalf of the Board, I acknowledge with deep gratitude the efforts of all those who responded to the natural disaster events of the summer of 2010/11. Catherine Livingstone AO Chairman Telstra’s Chairman attending a briefing concerning progress by the Northern Flood Recovery team in Brisbane (Qld), 24/01/11.8
  • 10. CONTENTS A message from Telstra’s CEO Summer 2010/11 brought with it some of the most devastating and frightening weather events Australians had ever seen. We should never forget that it is our team, the Telstra team, which is one of the first to respond when a disaster strikes. Communication is essential during these times and Telstra people play a critical role ensuring communitiesDavid Thodey: Chief Executive Officer and emergency service organisations stay connected. This book contains firsthand accounts of how the Telstra Operations team took swift and decisive action and came up with some innovative solutions to meet the many challenges which presented themselves along the way. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the people involved in preparing for possible network impacts, monitoring our networks in the aftermath, restoring services, helping customers and supporting their local communities during the summer 2010/11 peak load season. We can all be enormously proud of the team’s efforts during these times. David Thodey Chief Executive Officer Allen Brazier, John Parkin, David Thodey, Dave Liddell, Dave Kincaid, Greg Anderson and trainee Jason Lewis during the CEO’s visit to check in with the troops working at St Lucia (Qld), 25/01/11. 9
  • 11. CONTENTSRoyston Bruce jointing a new section of 800 pair cable damaged in the floods at Rocklea (Qld).
  • 13. CONTENTS Each year Australians deal with natural disasters Ready – Prepare our people, customers, infrastructure Often these reviews spark ideas, ideas which result where lives, homes and livelihoods are often on and business. in technological innovations and changes which the line. improve the way we do things. Respond – Determine the impact on our people, Keeping connected – something most of us take customers’ infrastructure and businesses. Within these pages we will refer to some of these for granted during the best of times – is of utmost innovations, which now form part of our Disaster Restore – Prioritise the restoration of services in co- importance during the worst of times. Planning (DISPLAN) communication support to ordination with emergency service organisations. emergency service organisations, including our In an emergency, one of the first things we all do Repair – Develop solutions which restore services Telstra Emergency Communications Kits (TECKs), is reach for the phone to call for help or to make as quickly as possible to isolated communities – this Cells on Wheels (CoWs) and Mobile Exchange on contact with loved ones. may involve temporary fixes. Wheels (MEoW®). For some facts and figures about This book concentrates on the events of summer these important pieces of equipment and other Reconstruct – Work to permanently repair or 2010/11 to provide the reader with firsthand, behind- innovations, under the ‘Learning from experience’ rebuild infrastructure damaged by the event. the-scenes accounts of how Telstra Operations section of this book (p.176). team members prepare for and respond to disasters (Note: See breakout box on the following page The last sections of this book are dedicated to which have the potential to impact communities and for more details of each phase of the 5R disaster recognition by the community, customers, industry their ability to keep these communities connected recovery framework.) and the Telstra Operations senior leadership team, during critical times. After managing through major infrastructure highlighting further how team members went above- The Telstra Operations team manage major, impacting events, the Telstra Operations team and-beyond what is expected in support of our customer-impacting incidents in accordance with conducts a Post Implementation Review to gain customers during these times. their ‘5R’ disaster recovery framework. The 5R knowledge and learn from experience. phases are as follows. Above: Road access was a huge issue. Opposite Top: John (Tack) Hewett rows a boat across a customer’s paddock to get to the job (Vic). Opposite Middle: Preparing for flooding in Victoria, Jim Rogers checks out this roadside12 cabinet which has been well sandbagged. Opposite Middle Lower: Warren Collie working at St. Lucia (Qld). Opposite Bottom: Old rail bridge at Dubbo (NSW).
  • 14. CONTENTSBreaking down the 5Rs into actions (Depending on the event, these phases may include the following) • Field workforce prepared (resource planning – techs on the ground) • Communications plan established (Telstra internal and external, e.g. emergency service agencies, media, etc.) • Business Continuity: - Central Business District (CBD) sites evacuated during floods - Staff working from home and where necessary moving functions performed by staff at other locationsReady • Protecting the core network: - Network redundancy tested - Critical infrastructure protection - Power and access - Sandbagging of exchanges, emergency power plants checked and refuelled. See the ‘Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst’ section (p.20) for more details concerning how the team gets ready. When dealing with disasters of the kind we faced this summer, our focus is on the safety of our people and the restoration of our core network, which is vital to ensure telecommunications traffic into and out of affected areas, including 000 and to assure communications to emergency service organisations. The biggest challenge to keeping people connected during major storms, flooding, cyclones and bushfires is the loss of mains power. From the outset of this summer’s weather events the Telstra Operations team worked in direct alignment with power utilities and partner Silcar Energy Solutions to ensure critical telecommunication sites were repowered. Where critical mobile sites could not be restarted the team deployed Telstra’s Cells On Wheels (or CoWs), which are portable mobile base stations. Telstra’s Mobile Exchange on Wheels (orRespond, MEoW®) was used where critical exchanges went down.Restore and The respond, restore and repair phases can also include:Repair • Telecommunications support to evacuation centres, recovery centres and volunteer organisations • Prioritisation of work based on customer needs • Constant review of power to core network infrastructure to all key network sites • Constant review to ensure access to sites is safe • Temporary network restoration • Temporary repair of damaged infrastructure, deployment of temporary network elements • Focus on repair or replacement of roadside cabinets, getting customers and businesses back online. The final ‘R’ is ‘reconstruct’ and focuses on the team’s program of work to permanently repair orReconstruct rebuild damaged infrastructure.
  • 15. CONTENTSByron Griffiths, one of a team of five, who manually dug extremely sticky soil in hot, humid, fly-friendly conditions to locate and fix fibre issues at FlorinaStation (NT). See related story, ‘What did you do over Christmas 2010?’ (p.164)
  • 17. CONTENTS “The main audience for this book are Telstra Operations team members and their family and friends.” If one picture could tell the story about the summer Where possible the editor has chosen shots taken 2010/11’s weather events, then this one; sourced during the event which feature Telstra crews at work, from and used with the kind permission of the to fully capture the essence of the stories being told. OUR Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology; would be it. However, some stories do not have images supplied of the team members involved, as one construction APPROACH TO The story this image tells is a simple one. During October operative candidly put it when asked about photos, “We were all too bloody busy to pose for photos!” 2010 to end-March 2011 (the definition of the summer STORYTELLING period for the purposes of this book), approximately ninety percent of our country received above-average The stories have been listed by region* and are in date order as to when the storyteller’s event occurred. to unprecedented, ‘highest on record’ rainfall, with all The main focus of the stories supplied here is the states impacted. However, parts of Western Australia’s team’s response when communication services and southern regions remained extremely dry, also a recipe communities were significantly impacted. for disaster – bushfires. Parts of Victoria also suffered bushfire events during this period. Finally, while devastating events happened globally during this period and in some cases Telstra Operations Within these pages many tales have been collated with people were involved (for example the Australia-Japan three types of stories told: firsthand accounts ‘by’ the cable assessment following a major 8.9 offshore quake actual person involved, second-hand accounts ‘as told which impacted large areas of Japan’s northern Pacific by’ a team mate about another’s efforts and a question coast in March), this book has been limited to a national and answer style ‘interview with’ those involved. view of summer events. Concerning all the stories captured here, the authentic *As our country’s regions are often defined differently by different groups, voice of the storyteller shines through; therefore the telephone ‘area code’ regions have been used for the purposes of this book. Therefore the regions used within these pages are as follows: Central East language and tone of the stories vary greatly depending Region (New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory), South East Region on the storyteller’s style and the situation team members (Victoria, Tasmania), North East Region (Queensland) and Central West found themselves in at the time. Region (Western Australia, South Australia and Northern Territory). The main audience for this book are Telstra Operations team members and their family and friends. Therefore, for ease of reading, each story within this book is self- contained with acronyms and terms explained. All the images contained in this book have been sourced from team members involved. Many were captured via their mobile handsets and therefore the quality and resolution of photographs contained within the book varies.16
  • 18. CONTENTSAbove image: Sourced from and used with the kind permission of the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. 17
  • 19. CONTENTSAfter a break and enter incident, Peter Leonard and Keiron Smith revisited the RIM to capture the scene of the crime.Read how the pair put in a marathon effort to keep the Kholo/Mt Crosby (Qld) community connected (p.118)
  • 21. CONTENTSDuring December’s bushfire exercise. See ‘On the ground in bushfire exercise’ story (p.24).
  • 23. CONTENTS PROACTIVE... PROACTIVE... “Work continued non-stop throughout the night and into the next day ...” Interview with Grant Nicholson, to engage stakeholders early – advising them of Network & IT Operations network preparations and communicating potential PRIOR Date: October 2010 onwards network risks and priorities. The Network Assurance Operations teams meet PLANNING AND Telstra’s Network Assurance Operations team based at Telstra’s Global Operations Centre are regularly to share information concerning the up coming emergency and to ensure they have rostered PREPARATION responsible for the control, co-ordination and communication of high impacting customer their teams appropriately and have made any necessary preparations relating to their technology LEADS TO RAPID incidents and networks at risk. They work closely with the Telstra Operations groups on the ground (for example the Voice and Traffic team generally manually perform backups of the data for each of the in the affected areas, including determining priorities NETWORK for preparation and, afterwards, in the restoration exchanges in the area). In preparation for both the Queensland floods efforts. RESTORATION For this team, early engagement with key and Cyclone Yasi, exchanges were made as safe as possible, including removal of debris and stakeholders for preparation saves a lot of time and sandbagging. Power preparation and refuelling allows all groups to act effectively and efficiently strategies were put into place for exchanges most should network impact be experienced. likely to lose power. Preparations can only go so far, sometimes Upon becoming aware of an emergency incident, the unexpected takes place. In the case of the the team first makes contact with Telstra’s assigned Queensland floods, a third-party organised a major Emergency Services Liaison Officers (ESLOs) telethon to raise funds from the community, but to ensure all preparations are aligned with field did not advise Telstra. The Network Assurance operatives (including emergency agencies involved Operations team had to think quickly to co-ordinate and Telstra’s Service Delivery communication extra capacity. technicians and Network Construction constructor operatives). Annie Martin, one of the Major Incident team managers co-ordinating the incident, Following this, key network infrastructure within commented, “Technical staff were quickly the area at risk of impact is identified. ‘Go/no go’ gathered together and implemented some zones (red, amber, green) are constantly reviewed network changes to redirect call traffic using with the relevant emergency service authorities to alternate technologies. ensure safe passage for any field staff working in, or Whilst the changes enabled callers to get through travelling through, the zones. and make their donation, it created some other Early communication with internal stakeholders challenges for how the calls were handled, as the (groups within Telstra that may also be impacted or centre also takes calls for Queensland SES and can assist in preparation and/or restoration work) is Health. Work continued non-stop throughout also very important and ensures business continuity the night and into the next day to address the plans are put in place in preparation for the coming network capacity issues and return their service emergency. One of the key steps in preparation is to normal.”22
  • 24. CONTENTSAt the onset of Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi, theNetwork Assurance Operations team developed a About the role of Emergency Services Liaison Officerspre-impact priority restoration plan which allowed Telstra’s Emergency Services Liaison Officers (ESLOs) provide the interface between Telstra and thethem to become a practical part of preparations, emergency service organisations during an emergency such as flood, fire, cyclone, etc.monitoring the network closely and working alongsideemergency service organisations and district disaster ESLOs are field managers from Service Delivery and are supported by a state and deputy groups. During emergencies, ESLOs support the communications requirements of emergency agencies byOnce the cyclone had passed, restoration efforts co-ordinating requests including: restricting staff movement in the affected area by applying ‘no go’ zonesinitially focused on protecting the IP core sites, (for safety reasons), the identification and preparation of infrastructure at risk, organising additional productswhich was made very difficult due to power being and services as required, prioritising fault management for critical emergency and utility sites, and theunavailable at a number of exchanges. As sites temporary and long-term restoration of communication services.became safely accessible, Silcar Energy Solutions,Service Delivery and Network Construction teamsworked tirelessly to hook up generators andcommence regular refuelling runs to keep thegenerators topped up with fuel.To safely access key sites Telstra goes to greatlengths, for example working with the AustralianDefence Force to fly in via Black Hawk helicopter. Nick Kellett, one of the Network Operations Managers working at the time recalls, “We knew that the mains power would be disrupted for a number of days so we had to come up with a plan to keep all the network sites linking the IP core together working. This meant getting portable generators out to the sites that just had batteries and keeping the overall generator network refuelled. Given the large geographical area we had to cover and in some instances the lack of access due to the massive disruption that the cyclone left behind, we had to be creative. A couple of times we were within minutes of losing our IP core network which would have meant a loss of all fixed and mobile communications to Telstra customers in far North Queensland. We leveraged our great relationships with Silcar Energy Solutions, Service Delivery and the Australian Defence Force to come up with a robust refuelling plan which we implemented and monitored for two weeks to avoid any sites failing.” Top Left: Black Hawk at Theodore (Qld), 30/12/10. Top Right: Some of the team involved in the Major Incident room, at Telstra’s Global Operations Centre were (l-r) Grant Nicholson, Joe Camilleri, Soula Duval, David Cheeseman, Glen Taylor and James Wright (back to camera). Bottom: Telstra’s Global Operations Centre provides 24/7 monitoring across all Telstra networks, including working with emergency services 23 and field groups to establish restoration priorities during emergency incidents.
  • 25. CONTENTS PROACTIVE... PROACTIVE... “For Telstra, the exercise was an important part of our seasonal preparation...” By Joe Camilleri, Network & IT Operations SMR is used by the Police, CFA and Victorian Date: 05/12/10 Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) ON THE In December, members of the Telstra Major in country Victoria as well as a number of other emergency organisations. It is a vital communication Incident Management and State Managed GROUND IN Radio teams participated in the largest test of Victoria’s bushfire preparation since Black system in an emergency. See related story (p.186) ‘CFA says thanks’. BUSHFIRE Saturday (7 February 2009). Alongside the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and SES, the exercise EXERCISE tested communication, collaboration and processes between the organisations involved in emergency situations. For Telstra, the exercise was an important part of our seasonal preparation for emergencies, providing a unique opportunity to test our disaster planning processes which includes the communications support Telstra provides to emergency service organisations to assist them in managing emergency situations. Co-ordinated from the CFA’s Kangaroo Ground Incident Control Centre with a staging area at Yarrambat Park, members of the Telstra Major Incident Management and State Managed Radio teams were there to see firsthand how communication systems operate on the ground during an emergency. The Telstra team were on hand to support the deployment of communication systems and were able to showcase our emergency communications capability by deploying a Telstra Emergency Communications Kit (TECK). The TECK provided incoming and outgoing PSTN and fax services for the SES and CFA staff on the ground. Telstra teams were also able to observe how the StateNet Mobile Radio Networks (SMR) operated during the exercise.24
  • 26. CONTENTSTop: Comms play an extremely important role in assisting emergency service organisations to manage in a crisis. Here we see the TECK in use during the exercise. Bottom: During December’s bushfire exercise. 25
  • 27. CONTENTS COLLABORATION... “Restoration activities were difficult due to the unsafe conditions and a record number of red zones...” By Phil Astle, Network & IT Operations state, including Charlotte, Edison and Ipswich, Date: December 2010 onwards preventing any further adverse impact. UNPRECEDENTED The Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi Protecting the core network and ensuring continuity of service for the community, including emergency were two unprecedented events that put our EVENTS TESTS network and capabilities to the test. The other weather events across other states, whilst they were and essential services, were our key priorities. The restoration of local power and site access restrictions CAPABILITIES significant for the communities, had a comparatively minimal impact on Telstra infrastructure and being lifted saw a steady decline in the number of impacted services. customers. The emergency incident management process was invoked to manage all the natural disasters. Phil Astle: Onsite liaison The Incident Operations team engaged a number of teams including Service Delivery, Network When it became apparent the recovery effort Construction, Silcar Energy Solutions and Strategy & for the Queensland floods was unprecedented, Corporate Services to co-ordinate asset protection, Phil Astle, emergency and relationship manager restoration activities and communications. within the Network Assurance Operations Incident team, relocated from Telstra’s Global Restoration activities were difficult due to the unsafe Operations Centre (GOC) in Melbourne to conditions and a record number of red zones (‘no Queensland. Phil’s role was to attend twice daily go’ zones) declared by emergency services across Regional Emergency Council meetings and flood and cyclone impacted areas. Take Queensland assist with the management of the technical for instance, where we had a total of 719 red zones bridge to ensure any issues relating to damage declared by the end of the season. were quickly identified and escalated to make Despite the significant customer impact the network sure the recovery effort was not compromised. withstood the treacherous conditions quite well with The role of team members at Telstra’s GOC the major impact being caused by a loss of local includes 24/7 monitoring and first in fix of mains power and back-up batteries depleting due incidents across all Telstra networks, customer to site access issues. experience monitoring, incident management, It is highly probable the impact would have grown event management, emergency services exponentially if we had lost any of our IP core sites. call tracing and working with field groups to establish restoration priorities during emergency With the collaborative efforts of the Telstra incidents. Operations teams we were able to successfully protect a number of major exchanges across the26
  • 28. CONTENTSTop Left: Joe Camilleri, Tom Farrell, Phil Astle, Will Visser and Paul Gerreyn at the December bushfire exercise. Top Right: Our field crews’ safety, due to road access issues, was monitored closely at the time.Bottom Left: The devastation caused by Cyclone Yasi and flooding was shocking. Bottom Right: Restoring power was important. Here a 4WD forklift is used for a genset deployment to a hill top exchange at Cardwell (Qld). 27 27
  • 29. CONTENTS PROACTIVE... PROACTIVE... “The preparation prior to Tropical Cyclone Yasi provided benefits in reducing the impact to Telstra’s infrastructure in the affected areas...” By Pat Rutter, Service Delivery Post-Cyclone Date: 01/02/11 onwards HOW TO PREPARE Telstra’s key learning from Tropical Cyclone • The immediate three day focus was on power restoration. FOR NETWORK Larry (2006) was power would be a significant issue if Tropical Cyclone Yasi crossed the coast • A ‘4-Point Recovery Framework’ communications was established to provide for IMPACT CAUSED in a populated area in Far North Queensland. This proved correct as 680 major network sites were an easy flow of communications between the four main groups involved at Telstra’s Global BY A CAT 5 left without power. This required the deployment of Operations Centre, in Brisbane, Cairns and generators and the co-ordination of power restoration Townsville. Open phone bridges (technical and with Ergon Energy and Powerlink Queensland. CYCLONE Pre-Cyclone operations) were also in operation. • Power restoration meetings continued at a high • Core and priority network sites were identified level between Silcar Energy Solutions, Ergon by the Global Operations Centre / Major Incident Energy and Telstra. Management in Melbourne and the list reviewed • Restoration efforts including timing and access by the cross-Telstra business unit team to include were co-ordinated with Ergon Energy and SES. other known priorities based on local knowledge. • Daily Major Incident Management status updates • The Global Operations Centre / Major Incident provided visibility of Telstra zone status (ability to Management then completed scenario modelling access sites), summary of customer impact, and on the sites, with Telstra’s partnered contractor a power summary (including the number of sites for the provision of emergency power, Silcar without mains power, sites restored by Ergon Energy Solutions, in turn predicting the impact Energy and the number of sites being monitored and requirements for power at these sites post- and managed by Silcar Energy Solutions for cyclone. refuelling, batteries, generators, etc.). • A pre-disaster technical phone bridge was The preparation prior to Tropical Cyclone Yasi established to assist in planning for potential provided benefits in reducing the impact to Telstra’s issues identified. infrastructure in the affected areas by pre-planning the availability of generators for interim power to the key network sites. Relationships already established between Telstra, Telstra’s partnered contractor and Ergon Energy allowed all parties to have a co-ordinated approach to the restoration of power to these essential sites.28
  • 30. CONTENTS Our top three network priorities: Power! Power! Power! Like many Telstra partners, Silcar Energy Solutions were only too happy to assist Telstra and their customers with restoration of services following the devastating and destructive effects of ongoing flooding, including the aftermath of Cyclone Yasi. Silcar Energy Solutions deployed resources and material from both Queensland and New South Wales to assist in around the clock efforts which initially focused on the restoration of the communications network. Silcar Energy Solutions commitment with the recovery saw personnel based in these regions for in excess of three weeks. During this time Silcar Energy Solutions’ employees worked 12 hour shifts alongside Silcar field technicians, Telstra field teams and other agencies also engaged in recovery efforts. Whilst many involved described the efforts as strenuous and demanding given the destruction caused, they also said they would be happy to do it all over again. Trevor Starcevich, Network Construction Contract ManagerAbove Top: Craig Bartlett, the Emergency Services Liaison Officer (ESLO) who undertook the massive task of co-ordinating efforts with emergency service organisations for Queensland and Northern New South Wales duringthe summer 10/11 period. Above Bottom: David Thodey visiting some of the Northern Region Operations team (l-r) Trudy Deighton, Jay Patel, Chris Hazelton, Tony Broadway, Tim Lostroh, Sym Puskaric, Simon McLean, 29David Thodey, Shellie Cave, Sandra Perry and Pat Rutter
  • 31. CONTENTSGreg Cooke at a washout at Lue. See related story ‘Lightning, storms, floods and road closures’ (p.36).
  • 32. CONTENTS CENTRAL EAST REGION(NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY) Note: Due to Service Delivery’s Southern Region extending into parts of New South Wales, to differentiate between stories from Service Delivery’s Southern and Central Regions we have noted when a story is from Southern teams in this section only.
  • 33. CONTENTS COMMUNITY SPIRIT... “Traffic was cut for about 20 hours and there was extensive damage done to some heritage buildings...” As told by Grant Carroll, Countless SES meetings were attended by the local Service Delivery [Southern] team manager David Gillett who supplied updates WALLS OF Date: October 2010 onwards and assistance to customers. After waters receded to a safe level David and two field technicians were During the summer the Riverina Snowy ferried into North Wagga sitting in the bucket of a WATER Field Service Area (FSA) experienced major severe weather events. On each occasion, large front-end loader to assess damage. amounts of rain fell over very short periods, creating The last of these severe weather events for the walls of water which rushed down mountains, rivers summer period took place in March, when the and creeks, causing extensive damage to properties, largest amount of rain fell; 300-400 millimetres was bridges and Telstra infrastructure. recorded over a period of 48 hours in the south coast area around the Bega Valley. Natural disaster zones were declared in numerous local shires within the area, making it one of the Due to the mountainous terrain along the coast, most challenging years on record. the sheer volume of rain at this time caused more damage to infrastructure in the region than any of The first of these events in October saw 100- the other events throughout the year. 200 millimetres of rain fall in a 24-hour period in the Wagga and Albury areas. The small towns of Due to unsafe driving conditions, our team was not Culcairn, Adelong, Holbrook, The Rock, Lockhart, allowed to drive their vehicles into the area to affect Rand, Urana and Jingellic had to be evacuated due repairs. to widespread flooding and inundation of homes, Our local team managers did however continue properties and roads. Tragically, during this event to work closely with the SES and due to Peter we saw the loss of life just outside the township of Chapple’s involvement in the fire brigade, and the Lockhart. relationships built, Peter was able to arrange for two The Wagga and surrounding areas were struck field techs to join him on flights into isolated areas by by torrential rain again in December, causing the helicopter and commence restoration of damaged Murrumbidgee River to peak at its highest level since fibre crossings. 1974. Towns along the river including Gundagai, Peter was also able to set up a satellite phone in the Narrandera and Wagga saw residents forced small township of Rocky Hall for our customers to to evacuate from their properties and homes use until all services could be restored. including the evacuation of 1,800 people from North Wagga alone.32
  • 34. CONTENTSMy sincere thanks and appreciation go out to thewhole team who worked long hours over manyweeks to restore services. They all worked tirelesslyand considered the needs of the people in thesecommunities and the importance for them to be ableto communicate with family and friends. About the Adelong area Chris Hargreaves, Service Delivery [Southern] said, “Telstra’s network was impacted by a 100-year flood event but we all pulled together as a team and got the work done, supplying telecommunications to the local people as fast as we possibly could. Traffic was cut for about 20 hours and there was extensive damage done to some heritage buildings, but the Adelong Telephone Exchange remained just out of reach, with the water level coming within millimetres of the floor level.”Top Left: What was left of East Grahamstown Bridge, East Grahamstown Road, Adelong after flash flooding.Top Right: Local team manager David Gillett took this aerial shot while surveying flooded North Wagga area with the local SES crew. Bottom Right: Travelling to Culcairn. 33
  • 35. CONTENTS RECOGNITION... “Many of these towns were isolated geographically as floodwaters covered roads.” By Loretta Willaton, Telstra Country Wide Date: October 2010 onwards RIVERINA- Late last year and again early this year, With an extra 22 people in his team, Service Delivery floodwaters savaged the Riverina Murray area field manager Grant Carroll and his team managers MURRAY washing away trees, which piled up against tirelessly led restoration efforts working long hours bridges. Many bridges were destroyed. As the and weekends to fix faults as quickly as possible. RECOGNITION bridges often carry our fibre links, many were broken and we lost service to several exchanges. Emergency satellite phones and temporary services were delivered to several customers who were likely The excessive flooding and resulting road closures to have longer outages due to major damage at prevented Telstra Operations service teams from creek crossings. being able to get straight in there to begin repairs. Many of these towns were isolated geographically During the first major impact in November 2010, we as floodwaters covered roads. experienced problems with a number of our small Ten extra services were provided to the SES in rural exchanges due to fibre cables being washed Tumut, a small town just outside of Wagga, to away or broken, including one of the major back-up ensure emergency workers had access to essential fibres servicing the district. communication services during the rescue and relief Whilst all fibre-based services and related exchange operations. outages were restored relatively quickly, there were Then again, on 11 February, Wodonga was inundated also huge numbers of individual service faults with floodwaters and fibre was damaged with about where lead-in or distribution cables were broken or 600 customers impacted. Once again Grant’s team inundated with water. Our local service team had a swung into action and had all customer services up huge task repairing these. and running within 10 hours. Grant’s team were fantastic and, all in all, the network held up remarkably well considering the breadth and severity of the flooding.34
  • 36. CONTENTSWILDLIFE... WILDLIFE... WILDLIFE...By Con Parslow, Service DeliveryDate: 12/10/10During the summer’s inclement weather When he returned, the snake had returned too and THE RETURNeven the wildlife had to find alternative was sunning himself wrapped around the pillar andaccommodation. the technician’s Loop-a-Line. OF A SLIPPERYTwo communication technicians, Mark O’Callaghanand Robert Hancock, opened a pillar in Austral The Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service were contacted and they relocated the CUSTOMERto test a cable length. A snake was inside the lid snake.and dropped down into the pillar while they were *The Loop-a-Line is a product developed specifically for telecommunica-working. tions technicians involved in fault location activities. It is the orange tool with the blue and white sticker pictured here.Once the snake removed itself, they were able tocontinue their job, locking the pillar down when theywere finished.The very next day Gavin Kaimoana, anothercommunication technician, came along and openedthe very same pillar, attached his Loop-a-Line* andleft to complete the job.Far Left: Tech Russell Thompson crossing Tumut River, Darbalara.Above: A slippery customer returns. 35
  • 37. CONTENTS TEAM WORK... TEAM WORK... “Technicians spent several months working very long days and giving their very best...” As told by Bill Lloyd, Service Delivery Muswellbrook Date: October 2010 onwards The Muswellbrook team experienced extensive LIGHTNING During the summer at a Service Delivery Central North Field Service Area (FSA) level we floods over a period of three months in the Mudgee area. Roads were washed away and flooding creeks STORMS, FLOODS had 56 team members move out of our FSA. The majority of moves being for more than a month impacted our ability to serve our customers. Wollemi National Park customers were isolated for AND ROAD each and some being two-plus months to help out in other areas. days at a time. Lake Burrendong Dam went from having just 12 per cent capacity for many years, to CLOSURES over 130 per cent capacity. There were many other moves within the FSA, as we moved communication technicians (CTs) to The team supported each other with the serve our customers while maintaining our FSA’s Muswellbrook part of the team travelling the 400 appointment and commitment performance. kilometres round trip, for one week at a time, over three months. The Construct & Maintenance Greater Foster West team also assisted by responding promptly to Over summer the Foster team’s main customer volume holds* and cable outages. impacting concerns were caused by lightning in the mountain areas. The coastal areas had minimal Dubbo weather impacts which allowed the team to support The Dubbo team experienced flooding right across other areas. its vast area, with the Macquarie and the Castlereagh Rivers reaching record levels. Coonamble and Over the summer period, the team had on average numerous communities were isolated. The Northern three CTs away working in other regions. There was Queensland rains then started to move down the country a period of three weeks where the team pulled hard causing flooding in the Darling River isolating Kilpa. together to look after our customers to allow five technicians to be away working in other regions. Meeting the challenges Cessnock Controlled road closures and dirt roads being impassable were a continual challenge as the This summer the Cessnock team area was country absorbed the welcome rain. impacted by many lightning storms. The committed CTs spent many hours clearing multiple faults on our Technicians spent several months working very customers’ lightning damaged services. While this long days and giving their very best under imposing was happening the team supplied two technicians conditions. to go to Queensland for several months. *A Volume Hold Queue is created by Service Delivery’s Service Outage Cessnock team members also spent time in adjoining Management team when a number of fix line services are impacted by one fault (say a cable break or a roadside cabinet is inundated with water teams including the Muswellbrook, Newcastle and and stops functioning). Volume holds are put in place while the fault is Dubbo teams. The region was also supported by being repaired. Creating a Volume Hold Queue provides Telstra teams with a single point of reference to obtain updates on outages affecting our Cessnock sending a technician to Central South FSA. customers in one particular area.36
  • 38. CONTENTS “I am proud of my team. We did all this work and still managed to support our colleagues who were in a worse situation. The team has performed excellently and always put the customer at the front of their minds concerning all decisions and actions made.” – Niall Carey, Service Delivery Area Manager, Central North.Top Right: Clouds building for another lightning storm across Cessnock. Bottom Left: Coonamble fields flooded. Bottom Right: Highway through Dubbo. 37
  • 39. CONTENTS COLLABORATION... “Many technicians travelled from around the country to help...” As told by David Gillett, Service Delivery Many technicians travelled from around the [Southern] country to help out as part of Service Delivery’s BACK Date: 3 December 2010 peak load strategy. Whether it’s fires, floods or cyclones anywhere in the country, we have During flooding in Wagga Wagga the basement TO car park of the local main shopping mall was the flexibility to get our skilled people interstate quick smart to assist in restoring services. filled with water, up to 1.5 metres in places. BUSINESS The communications room, which is located in the car park, was inundated. The batteries, four access panels, the backplane, socket and plug assembly, including the DC power access, were partially submerged causing the loss of communications (fixed phone lines, internet, data, alarms, fax machines and EFTPOS services). With co-operation between the local Network Construction and Service Delivery teams, equipment was sourced and the recovery process commenced. It certainly was an around-the-clock affair, with technicians Phil Briggs and James Tibbetts working through Friday night 3 December in the flooded car park to get the local shopping mall back online. At around the same time, after receiving advice from the SES that two RIM cabinets were in danger of inundation (one on Hammond Avenue and the other on Schiller Street, Wagga Wagga), members of the Wagga team got to work sandbagging the roadside cabinets and potentially saved around 5,000 customer services from being impacted.38
  • 40. CONTENTSTEAM WORK... TEAM WORK...By Terry Walsh, Service Delivery [Southern] John positively identified the fault location as aDate: December 2010 washed-out creek crossing and our techniciansDuring December I received a call from Service were onsite by 4:30pm. WASHED OUTDelivery Enhanced Services technician John The site was a disaster area, too wet and boggyCollins, informing us of a possible fibre outage to get any vehicle on site, including the Coolac and Jugiong affecting more than 170 The bridge was mostly washed away as well andPSTN (or fixed line) customers. this meant the gear had to be carried, by the field crew involved, across a plank on what was left ofWhile John continued his investigations, the bridge.communication technicians Geoff Sonneman andLawrie O’Callaghan organised an excavator and With all the challenges, and to the team’s credit, thetravelled from Wagga to Jugiong. fibre was up and running by 8:30pm.Colleague Craig Price hooked up the fibre trailer in Early communications between Service Delivery’sAlbury and also headed to Jugiong. Enhanced Services and field teams ensured a quick restoration time for our customers.Opposite: (l-r) Russell Thompson and Geoffrey Sonneman protecting our assets. Above Left: Bridge at Jugiong. Above Right: Washed-out optical fibre cable in Jugiong 39
  • 41. CONTENTS CUSTOMER DRIVEN... “Our team spoke to people who lost a great deal and they handled themselves admirably in the face of adversity...” As told by David Coxhell and Natalie O’Malley, Service Delivery CALL Date: December 2010 onwards Call Central Newcastle, though based in While we did our best to relay potentially displeasing CENTRAL Newcastle, operates nationally and comprises several teams including Rescheduling, news to our customers, it’s understandable many calls had to be escalated due to customer WEATHERS Call Central Front of House, Service Delivery Customer Care, Recalls, Fee For Service and dissatisfaction. Our consultants are well versed in dealing with unhappy customers and did what they THE STORM Vetting and Validations, Outage Management and Interim Provision & Recovery. could to assist them within set guidelines (diversions, Personal Interim Phone Services (or PIPS), trouble- shooting, etc). Rescheduling Each day we managed escalations and liaised with With some of the fiercest weather conditions seen in the On-The-Day Schedulers in Service Delivery to get several years hitting multiple areas of Australia this the best possible results for our valued customers. summer, it was not surprising workloads skyrocketed This has been one of the busiest periods the team throughout the various areas of our business. has managed in over 10 years. A case in point was the rescheduling work done by Our team spoke to people who lost a great deal the dedicated Call Central staff in Newcastle. and they handled themselves admirably in the face Calls to customers to reschedule work the field have of adversity and always treated our customers with unfortunately had to delay, due mainly to unavoidable dignity, respect and understanding. weather impacts, rose significantly during December With many of our people cross-trained across 2010 to February 2011 (a total of more than 70,000 various functions, we pulled together to perform as reschedules actioned during this time). a true team should, putting our best foot forward to help provide the best possible levels of service The increase in workload meant Call Central had which our customers expect. to train several new classes of consultants in quick time given the need to keep our customers informed The Service Outage Management of the status of their services. With the fault volumes pouring in, and field crews The training was very hands on and very successful. dependent on being provided accurate and timely Call Central Front of House staff, many of whom information on where and how the network had been were newly trained themselves, had also been damaged, a huge effort was required from everyone affected by the increased workload brought on by involved in Service Outage Management. The team the unpredictable weather patterns. really stepped up and the effort put in by this team, to support the field crews and our customers, was truly impressive.40
  • 42. CONTENTSInterim Provisioning and Recovery (IPR)With significant network damage across Queensland,it became increasingly vital for Telstra to be ableto provide our customers with temporary InterimTelephone Services.However, in a particularly cruel blow, the floods thathad done such damage to the network infrastructurealso inundated the main depot that holds our interimphones.So with demand for interims through the roof and alarge number of our units also unavailable, the teamat IPR really had to dig deep. And dig deep they did,working massive hours trying to get interim phonesback from where they were no longer needed, sothey could quickly be deployed to customers whoreally required them in the flood-ravaged areas.During January and February, the peak period ofthe emergency, they recovered and redeployedthousands of interims.The majority of IPR staff are cross-trained andhelped other workstreams where they could. Theentire IPR team’s attitude and work rate over theperiod of the emergency is a tribute to their passionand commitment for their customers.Top: Some of the members of our Interim Provision & Recovery team (front) Truli Balloch (l-r behind the partition) Clinton Yates and Kathy Cox.Bottom: (l-r) Some members of the Service Outage Management team (l-r) Brenton Crabb, Phil Ross and Chris Box. 41
  • 43. CONTENTS DEDICATION... DEDICATION... “Reid’s Flat community was isolated by floodwaters for days with the optical fibre cable that feeds the telephone exchange being washed away...” As told by Terry Lines, Service Delivery Date: 16/12/10 LATE NIGHT This is a story about technician Richard Leary He drove around the back blocks of Reid’s Flat and shows the extraordinary lengths our people locating the customers and installing the satellite DELIVERIES go to, to serve our customers. phones. He found one customer had already been evacuated. Reid’s Flat community was isolated by floodwaters for days with the optical fibre cable that feeds the Even though in the end just two installs were telephone exchange being washed away at a river required, it was a very long haul with Richard arriving crossing. back home at 2:10am the next morning. On Thursday 16 December, Richard received a call from Dave Minney, Area Manager Central South, asking if he had any satellite phones available in Cowra. There were three medical customers in Reid’s Flat requiring satellite phones, but Richard only had one. However, he did some follow-up and soon located more satellite phones in Orange and arranged to meet a communication technician between Cowra and Orange to collect them. Richard then drove on to Reid’s Flat. Luckily, by late- afternoon that day, the floodwaters had receded enough for Richard to be able to drive through and he arrived just on dark.42
  • 44. CONTENTSGETTING ON WITH THE JOB...By Danny Freeman, Service DeliveryDate: 18/01/11 onwardsDanny Freeman, is from Service Delivery’s And there’s Chris Wilson of Wollongong and Charlie PROUDESTCentral Region and was asked to help out in Fucile of Ulladulla (C&M Central) who were sent upQueensland from January to April 2011. Thefollowing are Danny’s recollections over this to Queensland in early-January only to get flooded in around Grantham and did not arrive home until MOMENTStime. Easter. This was a great effort from their families as well.I was proud to be a part of the Construct &Maintenance (C&M) peak load team in Queensland Every time it looked like they would be sent homeduring the 2010/11 floods and cyclone season. something happened and they were asked to stay. There were many other Telstra Operations team Their response was, they would like to see it through members up there doing exactly the same type ofThe effort by all concerned was nothing short of to the finish. They spent nearly the full time (100 things to assist as we did. All who attended had to inoutstanding and I cannot thank the team enough. days) working around Mt Sylvia and by the end they some way, every day, find a way through a road thatFor instance George Talevski and Vasil Trajcevski were calling the locals by their first names. was washed away, fix a cable that had been washedwho arrived at Nerang for the induction, after driving away in the flood, deal with pits that were under There was the Saturday in Cairns when I went tofor two full days, and were told when it finished they mountains of debris that may have been someone’s get a haircut, but the Barber was on his way out thehad to head to Bundaberg to drop off stores and belongings and work in water from above and door. Anyway, as you do, I told him why I was upthen go to Rockhampton. The boys eventually got underneath, etc. there and he took care of me and when I went to payto their accommodation at around 8:00pm. Not one he said, “No, it’s all good. Thanks for coming up, we No matter what the situation, I saw many who justhint of protest from them. appreciate the help.” got stuck in and got the job done and then movedThat was the way they conducted themselves for on to the next job. Next! This is just one of the good things to remember fromthe full tour – when they had to move at short notice, being away.when they were sent hours out of town to work,when they had to dig to get the repair done, not a Then there was the local Queensland Telstra teams,hint of a whinge. Just head down and get it done. wherever I or the rest of the C&M crew went, from Nerang in the south to Cairns in the north, the peopleOr the six amigos in Cairns (Rob Hancock and Craig we dealt with were first rate. They were more thanShearer from Sydney, Peter Cox from Bathurst, Mark helpful in every way they could be. Team managers,Auterson from Canberra, and Mark Nicholas and schedulers, planners, stores people and field crewWarren Collie from Northern Brisbane) who every were always there to assist in whatever way would come home from work soaked. Their It was much appreciated and thanks again.trucks smelt musty and their tools and equipment allwet from the rain. It is an experience, the wet seasonin North Queensland. When they were finally offeredthe weekend off they agreed that would be good,“We can do some washing, clean the room up a bitand be ‘normal’ for a couple of days.” It’s not oftenyou hear a liney volunteer to do the washing andclean up.Opposite: Richard Leary about to get on the road again. Above: Mt Sylvia crew at a fibre washout at Black Duck Creek. 43
  • 45. CONTENTS INNOVATION... INNOVATION... “... innovative ways the team got the job done when dealing with installing temporary fixes...” By Stephen Chadd, Service Delivery Date: January/February 2011 LEFT-FIELD During the floods we had a number of aerial We had people with the abbey basket on one side cables washed away and on a number of of the river and Steve Sproule and Dave Dollimore SOLUTIONS GO occasions it was the initiative shown by the taking the line across the river via kayak to Hugo field crews in the area which helped to restore Pascuzzo and Peter Townsend who terminated the A LONG WAY telephone services. cable on the pole, completing the temporary repair. Below are two examples of innovative ways the Due to vehicle access issues the drive from one team got the job done when dealing with installing side of the river to the other took team members temporary fixes of fibre over river crossings. approximately two hours. The Macquarie River crossing Mark Rich used a tyre tube to take a cable across Macquarie River near Narromine. Le-Roy Pardy met him on the other side and the crew were then able to restore services to the area. Hawkesbury River crossing Construction & Maintenance and Install & Maintenance crews worked together in a remote part of the Hawkesbury River to install fibre. This involved an abbey basket truck (an aerial truck which has a work basket for working at height), two 4WD vehicles and two kayaks. Due to the distance and the terrain, the job on the Hawkesbury involved a number of people, namely Hugo Pascuzzo, Steve Sproule, Dave Dollimore, Nghi Nguyen, Noel Beard, Peter Townsend and Steve Palumbo.44
  • 46. CONTENTSAbove: Le-Roy Pardy hauling the cable Mark Rich has brought across river. Note: A thorough risk assessment was carried out by a Health & Safety officer before proceeding with the tyre tube as an option for taking the fibre across the river. 45
  • 47. CONTENTS RESPONSIVE... RESPONSIVE... “The bridge was washed out at one end and access by road was cut due to landslides.” By Peter Chapple, Service Delivery [Southern] Date: 20/03/11 MANY RIVERS Rain started to fall in the Bega Valley late Sunday afternoon 20 March and persisted As a member of the Rural Fire Service (RFS) I was contacted on Wednesday by Ian Stroud, the RFS TO CROSS throughout Monday getting increasingly heavy towards the afternoon. Operations Manager for Bega Valley, who advised the township of Rocky Hall was physically isolated. At 2:00am on Tuesday, tech Graham McBain and I The bridge was washed out at one end and access were called in by Telstra’s Global Operations Centre by road was cut due to landslides. Locals were (GOC) to investigate a number of optical fibre alarms. sending photos to emergency services via satellite It appeared we had lost a number of fibre cables internet and one local pointed out they could see a which were impacting thousands of services. blue cable floating in the river. I knew straight away we’d found our elusive third cable break. Through testing and site visits we were able to locate two of the three fibre breaks which were washed I asked how we could get in to fix the fibre and Ian away on the Monday night. The third location was in invited me to attend the next emergency meeting an area isolated by floodwaters. to seek help. The emergency agencies, including RFS, SES and NSW Police were so helpful. They We immediately started working to patch services quickly arranged for me to be flown in by helicopter to a working fibre. We were able to repair the fibres and I was met at Rocky Hall by RFS personnel with at Bemboka and Wyndham by installing temporary a truck to take me to the Towamba River, where the cables across bridges. This was completed by fibre was damaged. 2:00am the following day, which meant Graham and I had worked nearly 24 hours straight. The RFS pilot flew us there and back four times, allowing us to get more technical crew, equipment The last of the three fibre breaks was more difficult and spare parts to site. During one of these trips to locate due to the rain and damage from flash Graham McBain was taken to a medical priority flooding. The Mount Darragh area received more customer to loan them a satellite phone and they than 400 millimetres of rain in 15 hours. Forty-seven were pretty happy to see him. We also installed a river/creek crossings were washed out or exposed, satellite phone at the local community centre for use which included four fibre crossings in the end. by residents to use until communications could be The location and repair work was extremely restored. challenging as access via road in many areas was The RFS also loaned me a fire truck, which I was impossible. accredited to drive, for our use to get around.46
  • 48. CONTENTSAfter flying in a fibre crew and equipment, we werefinally able to repair the fibre cable at Rocky Hall by3:00pm on 24 March.Repairing the cable was pretty tricky under theconditions, but we were able to run a temporary cablethrough trees across the Towamba River. Jointingwork was done in the river working alongside BegaValley Council workers who continued to removetrees and debris from river crossings.In addition to hundreds of metres of temporary cable,we also installed approximately four kilometres ofcable and replaced many poles.If it wasn’t for the help from emergency serviceorganisations, such as those mentioned, we wouldhave been waiting a long time to repair the cable andrestore services. We were able to return the favour,prioritising any DISPLAN services* they required.Teams worked tirelessly throughout this whole eventand I commend our people for their dedication andcommitment to our customers.* Within Telstra the term DISPLAN services (or DISaster PLANning services)describes technical/communications support Telstra can provide toemergency service organisations to assist them in managing emergencysituations.Top: A RFS chopper provided (l-r) Duncan Rorie, Ron King and Peter Chapple with transport allowing access to Rocky Hall.Bottom: Ron King and Duncan Rorie jointing the cable in the Towamba River. 47
  • 49. CONTENTS COLLABORATION... “Darren was an instrumental member of the team who located the fibre which was hidden by masses of debris.” As told by Greg Byrne, Network Construction and Dave Minney, Service Delivery Date: 21/03/11 FIND THE FIBRE On 21 March, the New South Wales south Dave Minney said, “Darren was an instrumental ACCESS POINT coast received extremely heavy rain causing numerous fibre outages from Wollongong member of the team who located the fibre which was hidden by masses of debris. His assistance aided down to Bega. the Wollongong crew to be able restore services to the local community quickly.” Requiring assistance, the Wollongong Service Delivery team called on Darren Cameron from Network Construction to work alongside Trevor Jenkins and Ian Connelly to locate an elusive fibre access point which was hidden by debris caused by the flooding. Darren worked with the team and provided valuable Database of Record (DBoR) information and, along with the team’s local knowledge, this helped them locate the fibre access point quickly. After finding the fibre, Darren continued to assist the Service Delivery team with excavation and pumping of the pit.48
  • 50. CONTENTSAbove: Trevor Jenkins on location. 49
  • 51. CONTENTSLarry Lane remaking a joint. See related story, ‘An extraordinary effort’ (p.67)
  • 53. CONTENTS DEDICATION... DEDICATION... “Without fail, our communication technicians did not disappoint, all stepped up to respond again.” By Warren Shean, Service Delivery Date: September 2010 onwards WET I would like to personally acknowledge Without fail, our communication technicians did not everyone in the south-east Melbourne team, disappoint, all stepped up to respond again. Whilst OR including our workforce deployment team and our contracting partner Service Stream, for all this was happening around us, our commitment to our customers remained unchanged. We maintained WHAT? the work they did during the wettest months we have had in metropolitan Melbourne’s history. a high level of appointments and commitments, productivity remained strong, even though many lines had multiple faults. It is hard to believe the consistent rain patterns started back in late-September and continued on all Another pleasing sign was we did not see an the way until late-March. In all my time at Telstra, I increase in customer complaints and escalations. cannot remember the last time we had such frequent To me this meant when customers called in to report downpours over so many months. their faults, they had a good understanding of the delays and our technicians dealt with them in a I am sure those who work and live around the professional manner when they went out to repair Pakenham area can remember the effects the their services. rain had in their patch, which included major road closures in Narre Warren and flooding in Koo Wee I would also like to acknowledge the interstate Rup and around the Cardinia reservoir. assistance provided to my area, this assistance and commitment was very much appreciated. Also, I There was also storm damage caused to the extend my thanks to those who worked extended Brighton and South Melbourne Exchanges which hours during the week and especially those who interrupted hundreds of customers, to name only a gave up many weekends to help get our customers few problems. connected again. Many parts of south-east Melbourne were hit on It is these types of acts that make me proud to work more than one occasion recording 50 millimetres or for Telstra and with such a wonderful team. more of rain in just one day. When this happens, the demands from our customers increase which, in turn, means increased demands on our technicians and support personnel.52
  • 54. CONTENTSTop: Mark Fletcher trying to get through to Pakenham South Exchange which was surrounded by water.Bottom: Steve Hicks at Pakenham South Exchange. 53
  • 55. CONTENTS RESPONSIVE... RESPONSIVE... “The extreme wind activity on Sunday night tore the roof from the Beech Forest Exchange...” Interviews with Ian Baker, Des Ryan and Managed Radio (SMR) Cell on Wheels (CoW) to Trevor Goudie, Service Delivery provide radio coverage for our emergency services COPPING Date: September 2010 customers, Victoria Police and the Department of Sustainability and Environment.” In September north-east Victoria bore the IT EARLY brunt of the flooding, particularly around the Wangaratta/Benalla area. Ian Baker, Service Closer to Melbourne in the town of Jamieson, an optic fibre cable running across the Jamieson River Delivery’s Emergency Services Liaison Officer was washed away. Transmission technician Trevor (ESLO) for the area, was at the scene co-ordinating Goudie attended the site to test the fibre to locate Telstra’s response and recovery efforts. the fault. “We worked closely with the Benalla Municipal “On arriving at the site, the extent of damage was Emergency Control Centre (MECC). In addition to immediately obvious,” said Trevor. working through the evenings to activate services, “We engaged fibre repair crew members Rob we were able to help out by providing additional Heathcote and Graeme Jones who commenced emergency phone services to the MECC in order to work installing several hundred metres of temporary assist the recovery,” recollected Ian. cable across the river and our customers in the The extreme wind activity on Sunday night tore the townships of Jamieson, Howqua Inlet and Tolmie roof from the Beech Forest Exchange, resulting were back online that afternoon.” in water damage to sensitive communication equipment. Technical specialist Des Ryan, responded quickly to the situation calling in our temporary disaster response innovations - the Mobile Exchange on Wheels (MEoW®) and the Cell on Wheels (CoW). “Within hours we were able to roll in our MEoW®. By using this technology we quickly restored PSTN (fixed line) and ADSL (broadband) services to the local area,” said Des. “In addition to keeping our residential and mobile customers connected, we also called in a State54
  • 56. CONTENTSBottom: Tech Des Ryan working on the Main Distribution Frame at Beech Forest Exchange.Top: High winds blew the roof off the Beech Forest Exchange in the Otways causing water damage to equipment resulting in the deployment of a MEoW®. 55Opposite: Optic fibre being repaired in Jamieson by Graeme Jones.
  • 57. CONTENTS GETTING ON WITH THE JOB... “Funnily enough, the pole they ended up using was actually an old gum tree.” By Laurie Barber, Service Delivery Date: Mid-November 2010 onwards BIT One afternoon during the floods I had to tow a Communication technicians Rod Batchelor and Rob drum of cable to Pine View and out of nowhere Dahllof were working in Barham to fix the aerial cable OF a storm hit us, making the roads really slippery. but couldn’t find the pole to hang it from. Funnily My vehicle and the trailer jack-knifed and then enough, the pole they ended up using was actually BOTHER became bogged on the side of the road. an old gum tree. Coincidently, during the job they also found an old ‘Pride Tag’ with my name on it A number of other 4WDs also got bogged. From the from a few years back. top of the hill, a guy in a Landcruiser was watching all the commotion below and came down to help. He pulled over to my van and said, “You’ve got a bit of bother down there”. He offered to tow me out, if I had some rope. Fortunately I did. I unhitched the trailer and was towed away to a clear spot on the road. Another 4WD had taken the trailer but I had no idea where to. I drove a bit of the way and found it waiting for me. I still don’t know who had dropped it there. I worked for a while with Nathan Olivieri, a technician helping out from Western Australia who was about seven foot tall. The floods brought out heaps of big spiders like the Golden Orb, spiders that spin a really strong web. Being so tall, Nathan would go head-first into the webs. He was sure the spiders were out to get him. He started carrying a big stick and as he walked along he would twirl it in front of him, spinning the webs like fairy floss. I was rapt because he cleared the path for me.56
  • 58. CONTENTSRight Top: Bogged on the way to Pine View (Hampton Road, Kerang). Right Bottom: Rob Dahllof and Rod Batchelor at Barham with P20 conduit used to get the wire up the tree.Left Top: Laurie Barber introduces the boogie board toolkit. Left Bottom: Improvements to the floating toolkit, it’s now secured with tape and can be carried easily. 57Opposite: The gum used instead of a pole to hold up the aerial wire.
  • 59. CONTENTS RECOGNITION... RECOGNITION... “As part of this ICC team, Telstra team members work closely with other utilities...” By Nick Marotta, Service Delivery Date: January 2011 INCIDENT As part of a three-person rotation in the flood CONTROL Incident Control Centre (ICC) in Bendigo which was operational 24/7, Ian Baker, Allan Callaghan and I kept in regular contact with CENTRE senior managers and field communication technicians concerning any changes in the SUPPORT weather that would affect our people and infrastructure. As part of this ICC team, Telstra team members work closely with other utilities and emergency service personnel to provide emergency telephone services as required. During this time, ICC representatives were able to direct resources to sites which required sandbagging or temporary levees built. This meant they were able to get personnel to sites that needed service restoration quickly. This was mainly due to information on road closures and logistics being updated and on hand in the one location at the Control Centre. Our experience in working in the ICC was one to be proud of. I was impressed at how well it was managed and how well information flowed to all involved. About Incident Control Centres Incident Control Centres (ICCs) are usually joint Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Department of Sustainability & Environment (DSE) venues used to accommodate an incident management team to manage major emergencies across various municipalities.58
  • 60. CONTENTSCOLLABORATION...By Ken Hodgson, Service DeliveryDate: January to March 2011Although north-west Melbourne wasn’t directly SENDING IN THEimpacted by the floods, once the degreeof devastation became apparent, our teamwere quick to volunteer their services. After REINFORCEMENTSrearranging our local workload, we quickly had tenfield team members on the long road to Queensland.These were Brad Berriman, Shane Franich, KentAshworth, Trevor Cutting, Shane Betson, TonyGalati, Tony Tranquilli, Tony Pistininzi, Andrew Lordand John Kovacic.On arrival, our team were absolutely gobsmackedat the extent and degree of damage sustained.The Melbourne North West contingent workedlong hours, over an extended period of time, to putQueensland communities and businesses back intouch.Their efforts were very much appreciated by all thoseimpacted by those terrible floods.Opposite: The BigPond® branding and the lady diving on the side of the van is quite ironic considering the situation (Location: Outside the Rochester Post Office).Above: (l-r) John Kovacic and Tony Galati, two of the team of ten from Melbourne North West, who assisted with the Queensland restoration work. 59
  • 61. CONTENTS DEDICATION... DEDICATION... “It was a nice feeling to have a few of the locals who were looking on, shake our hands and thank us for helping out under trying conditions. ” By Rob Dahllof, Service Delivery Date: January 2011 onwards A CHANGED It was the last week of January and I was I worked in the Victorian towns of St. Arnaud, VACATION counting down to having the entire month of February off. No plans were set in concrete, just an Charlton, Kerang, Quambatook and Boort. I had never experienced such a disaster firsthand and it odd round of golf, a swim down at Torquay beach was inspiring to see emergency service personnel, on the nice days and a few odd jobs to do around volunteers from out of town and the local people all the house.... that was soon to change. working together as one, to help out where needed. After seeing the floods each night on the TV, with One day I was sent to the town of Skipton where we people living in school gyms and town halls and encountered an interesting job. There was a medical knowing Telstra infrastructure was in trouble in those customer who didn’t have a working phone line. The areas, I felt a need to help out if at all possible. issue was the line was fed in a conduit across a walk bridge which had been pulled from its foundations I called Victorian West Region field manager Terry and swept away by floodwaters. Scott and explained to him I had four weeks off and a Telstra 4WD vehicle and it seemed a waste not to We were asked to try and find an alternate way of utilise both in the current flood situation around the getting service for this customer, even if it was only a state. I was happy to reschedule my leave and help temporary fix. Our main problem was we had to get out with the floods as required. a line across Mount Emu Creek which was about 30 metres wide. “Yes please!” was the answer and before I knew it, within a couple of days I was on the road to St. There were rumours around the town that Mount Arnaud in north-west Victoria. Emu Creek was going to rise again that night, so by the time we had started on the job at least seventy I encountered many situations, from changing people had gathered on the main bridge of the town, over sockets in homes that had been flooded, to on both sides of the creek, watching our progress replacing elevated joints and cables in paddocks and for any sign of a rise in water level. that had corroded from being underwater.60
  • 62. CONTENTSAfter carefully assessing the site and looking outfor any safety concerns, we were able to string atemporary cable between two gum trees across thecreek and pick up the existing Telstra cable at eitherside, to give our medical customer service.It was a nice feeling to have a few of the locals whowere looking on, shake our hands and thank us forhelping out under trying conditions.I ended up working away for four weeks and it wasinspiring to see country Australia at its best duringtimes of hardship.Top Left: Rob Dahllof.Top Right: Brad Shaw from Beaufort on the Quambatook-Wychitell Road, Barraport West (near Boort). 61Bottom Right: The Boort/Charlton Road approximately 30 kilometres north-east of Charlton.
  • 63. CONTENTS DEDICATION... DEDICATION... “After they had completed the testing, they ascertained the cable had been washed out in a creek crossing which was now a raging torrent.” As told by Glenn Turner, Service Delivery Date: January and March 2011 EAST COAST On Thursday 13 January, the east coast of All materials required had been organised the FOCUS FOR Tasmania was hit with flash floods which washed out one of our main optic fibre cables previous day and had been delivered to site so everything was put in place for an early start TASSIE at Scamander. That morning, two staff members from Construct & Maintenance North, Danny Emery on Saturday. On the Saturday, Telstra staff met the Service and Dale Tubb were sent to investigate. Stream sub-contractors and traffic management One of the issues these communication technicians contractors on site at Scamander. This meant one faced was the amount of water over the roads and communication technician, Tony Clarke, left home the fact it was still raining heavily. from Penguin at 4:30am and the other seven technicians (Ian Donoghue, Glenn Clark, Gene After they had completed the testing, they ascertained Hodgetts, Steve How, Dale Tubb, Michael Graham the cable had been washed out in a creek crossing and Jamie Bingham) all left Hobart, north and which was now a raging torrent. Due to the surging north-west Tassie at around 6:00am. floodwaters they could not access this cable to repair it. All work was completed by 8:30pm that night, successfully restoring service. One small township was isolated, so the Construct & Maintenance staff worked with team members from On Thursday 24 March, the east coast of Tasmania Enhanced Services to turn the feed around to get was hit with flash floods again. This time one of our these services working again. After this was done main optic fibre cables at Bicheno was washed out. and some patching was completed the only services This was the second time in three months this optic off were the redundancy fibres to Hobart. fibre cable from Launceston to Hobart via the east coast had been damaged by floodwaters. A meeting was held between the Construct & Maintenance team manager and contractors the The team manager for Construct & Maintenance for next day to formulate a plan to run out approximately Tassie North received a call at around 6:45am to 3 kilometres of temporary cable along the side of the notify him of the damage. Tasman Highway and through private property to an Technicians Tim Chilcott and Dale Tubb were existing joint. Then to dig on to the existing cable mobilised with all the appropriate gear, as were so the temporary cable could be spliced through. Service Stream sub-contractors. Constant contact62
  • 64. CONTENTSwas made with the Tasmanian Police as theroads were closed, blocking access to the sitewhere the damage had occurred. The Telstra crewand contractors had driven as far as they could.Fortunately, the roads were cleared at approximately12:00pm.The damage site was found and a temporary cablehad to be run out for approximately 130 metres fromone side of the river to the other. The problem wasthe cable was kinked so the contractors had to digback along the cable for about 20 metres so wecould get access.After this and all splicing was completed, all serviceswere restored by around 8:00pm that night.One of the biggest issues faced when the damagewas located, was the digging required on one sideof the river to access the cable. This area was nextto a swamp and water was running into the trenchas they were digging along the existing optic fibrecable, which made it a very slow process.Right:This is the site of the first wash out (13 January) where the cable was damaged. The contractors had dug a hole either side of the creek and bored under it so a new cable could be hauled through. It took some timeto access this site as we had to wait for the floodwaters to recede. Top Left: This is the second wash out (24 March). The technician holding the cable is Dale Tubb and the other person is a subcontractor for Service 63Stream. This area was next to a swamp and water was running into the trench as they were digging along the existing optic fibre cable.
  • 65. CONTENTS DEDICATION... DEDICATION... “Telstra’s technicians suddenly had hundreds of faults pouring in from all over the north-west coast.” As told by Ian Pickering, Service Delivery I am very proud of the efforts of all Tasmanian Date: 13/01/11 teams involved in the recovery from storm damage NORTH-WEST On 13 January, the north-west coast of in Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland during this year’s storm season. COAST FOCUS Tasmania experienced severe and dangerous weather conditions. FOR TASSIE Flash flooding and damaging winds were experienced across the north-west coast as a once in 100-year weather event. Flash flooding caused damage to Telstra infrastructure as large amounts of rainfall made its way down the rivers across the north-west. Telstra’s technicians suddenly had hundreds of faults pouring in from all over the north-west coast. Technicians had to be careful attending these faults as driving conditions were still hazardous, with winds strong enough to bring down tree branches and power lines – the strongest gusts were 90 to 124 kilometres per hour. The main street of Railton was completely covered with water. Communication technicians on the north-west coast worked long hours, rostered days off and weekends, to restore affected services to our customers. Providing permanent fixes where possible and temporary fixes where we had to wait for new bridges or river crossings to be built. This was a big effort by the north-west technicians, because at the same time we were providing technicians to assist with storm damage in Victoria and Queensland.64
  • 66. CONTENTSTAKING OWNERSHIP...By Alistair Cowie, Service DeliveryDate: 13/01/11We had a very wet spring after a decade of On the following Monday, I was required to attend a BETTER SAFEdrought. The summer bought unprecedented medical priority fault in St Arnaud, 110 kilometres totropical rains from Queensland to the Wimmeradistrict of western Victoria. the east of Horsham. Most direct roads were blocked by floods so I planned a route to the south-west, THAN SORRY but knowing this path was expected to flood by theOn Thursday 13 January, I was caught in a massive afternoon, I packed some clothes not knowing howrainstorm in the upper reaches of the Wimmera long it might be before I could get home.River catchment. This was certainly going to takethe already swollen Wimmera River into flood. After rectifying the fault in St Arnaud I headed home via roads to the north. Many were blocked, butThese floodwaters would reach my hometown eventually after a 300 kilometre detour, at aboutof Horsham in about five days. Over the following 9:00pm I could see the lights of Horsham aboutdays, authorities began to plan for the one-in-200- 10 kilometres away. I was amazed to see a farmeryear flood event in Horsham and other towns along harvesting a paddock of wheat, just hours beforethe river. our biggest flood was due to arrive.I attended a medical priority fault in Horsham on After a long work day, at about 10:00pm, my wifeSunday 16 January. The customer was an elderly and I walked outside to check on the water rising ingentleman who seemed to be confined to either bed our street. We noticed some furious activity aroundor his motorised scooter. the corner, so for the next three hours we joined inAs his house was in a low lying area of the city, I asked to fill and lay sandbags to save a house at the lowerhim about his plans concerning the impending flood. end of our street.He replied that floodwater had never come into his Our challenge over the next few months was justhouse, so he wasn’t worried. trying to get to as many of our customers as weWith the customer’s permission, I checked with the could, often within sight, but a big detour wasSES and found the customer’s house was predicted needed to get have 30 centimetres of water above floor level. Life was also made uncomfortable with the hugeThis would have possibly left him without phone or numbers of vicious mosquitoes seemingly able topower and if the predicted worst happened, his life bite through multiple layers of clothes.may have been at risk if he stayed. Fault levels in the area were triple a typical busyAfter further discussions and with the customer’s period, but thankfully most customers understoodpermission, I contacted his son who lives about 50 the difficulties we faced trying to restore services.kilometres away and arranged for the evacuation ofour customer and all turned out well in the end.Opposite Top: Tony Clarke from the Tassie North Construct & Maintenance group at Isandula Road Bridge, Gawler.Opposite Bottom: Temporary cable hung where the bridge had been washed away over the Leven River at Purton’s Flats near Ulverstone. 65Right Top: Alistair Cowie. Above Bottom: At height of flooding in Alistair’s street, 18/01/11.
  • 67. CONTENTS GETTING ON WITH THE JOB... “I haven’t seen it so wet, flooding everywhere. Not localised as it usually is.” By John Pridgeon, Service Delivery Date: January 2011 WORKING I live in Charlton and my house got flooded with IN water about 30 centimetres deep inside. I moved my van to the highest point in my backyard. WADERS For the first day, my wife and son sat in the tray of the 4WD ute in the backyard because we couldn’t get out. Once the floods receded, we then ripped up the floor coverings and cleaned up. I haven’t seen it so wet, flooding everywhere. Not localised as it usually is. The Police set up a temporary station, which was a caravan next to our exchange at Charlton. To give them service we ran an aerial cable from the exchange window to them. When I helped out with the Kerang recovery, working in waders was pretty interesting. We started out keeping our tools afloat on boogie boards, but they’d fall off the sides. We’ve made a big improvement since then by introducing the inflatable dingy to keep tools high and dry.66
  • 68. CONTENTSCUSTOMER DRIVEN...By Terry Scott, Service DeliveryDate: mid-January 2011It was the middle of January 2011 and we were We had a staff member who kept coming to work ANsupposed to be putting our efforts into the ‘fire even though his house was flooded and others whomitigation’ of our exchange sites, in preparationfor the approaching bushfire season. And yet, headed home to check on the sandbags as the water rose near their properties and then returned EXTRAORDINARYhere we were in the middle of record rainfalls rightacross western Victoria, with many areas recording to work. EFFORT Still others in flooded areas making out-of-hoursten times their monthly averages in a 24-hour period. contact with the SES to ensure their local exchangesStrong winds and heavy rains battered the area and were well-protected with sandbagging.major landslides were happening at Halls Gap, where lake systems around Horsham and to the 50the town was evacuated. Landslides also occurred Several team members were spotted stripping down to their underwear in order to wade into areas to kilometres wide by 80 kilometres long mass of wateralong the Great Ocean Road, causing closure of the that headed inland towards the Murray River aroundroad and caravan parks, full of holiday-makers, were rectify faults and of course the working conditions: mud, mud and more mud. Throw in the stench and the Kerang district.evacuated due to rising rivers. the mozzies and you begin to get the picture. A special thanks to all our staff for their efforts inThe river systems across western Victoria were providing DISPLAN lines for emergency servicepeaking at levels which hadn’t been seen for around The ingenuity of our team continues to amaze me – we had a Remote Integrated Multiplexer (RIM) agencies, the provision of phone lines to the many100 years and towns downstream were being relief centres, phone diversions arranged and forflooded as the water continued on to its destination. roadside cabinet that was going underwater which staff unbolted, lifted up and put on blocks to keep both the permanent and temporary restoration ofOur fault volumes rose to levels we had never the electronics dry. services to get these communities connected again.experienced before. The guys wading in water to the access plant withA power station failure at Charlton, which caused their tool boxes taped to boogie boards, an inflatableloss of power to several exchanges, meant our boat used to tow in test equipment and the use ofentire workforce was stretched in our efforts to get personal boats and fishing rods to reconnect cablesthe network back up and running. across flooded areas and rivers are just a few otherAll of our workforce and contractors are to be examples of quick thinking that come to mind.commended for their commitment and efforts. With major roads and many subsidiary roads cut,We even had team members who cancelled their our people needed to draw on their local knowledgeplanned leave and others who returned back early to gain access to areas being reported as isolated.from recreation leave to assist. In western Victoria a total of 85 towns were floodWe received many commendations from customers affected. Each of the major river systems in westernand other agencies for Telstra’s efforts in assisting Victoria flooded differently – from the raging waterthe communities. that headed to the coast around Geelong andOur field team demonstrated their commitment to Warrnambool, to the riverine-type flooding of theour customers in many ways. Some were a shoulder Wimmera River as the water travelled to the inlandto cry on as devastated people came to grips withwhat was happening.Opposite Top Right: John Pridgeon’s backyard. Opposite Bottom Right: John Pridgeon and his boogie board toolkit.Opposite Left: Technicians Robert Snowden and Larry Lane remaking joint at Dingwall that has been under water. 67Above: Benjeroop Telephone Exchange
  • 69. CONTENTS Top Left: The Kerang Construct & Maintenance recovery team (l-r) Brett Matthews (Perth), Laurie Barber (Swan Hill), Brendan Tyrell (Melbourne), John Hewett (Tack) who was acting team manager at the time, Alastair Babbe (Perth), Stephen Spicer (Perth), Brad Shaw (Ballarat), Craig Murchie (Melbourne), in overalls Brett Ball (Melbourne), Nathan Olivieri (Perth), Daryl O’Brien (Kerang), Rob Dahllof (Melbourne) and Rod Batchelor (Kerang). Top Right: Mick Bobstchinski (Mick Bob) on the digger. Middle Left: Levee protecting the Kerang Power Station. Middle Right: Peter Hickey from Mildura checks out his mud mags. Bottom Right: Benjeroop elevated joint.68
  • 70. CONTENTS Top Left: Arumpo bog. Top Right: Kerang Recovery Crew brekkie with Brendan Tyrell (Melbourne), John Hewett (Mildura) with Brett Ball (Melbourne) and Nathan Olivieri (Perth). Middle Left: Stephen Spicer (Perth), Bob Beresford and Brett Matthews (Perth). Middle Right: Larry Lane from Geelong with Bob Beresford. Bottom Left: Steven Schneider (Horsham team) with Bob Beresford (Regional Service Director Southern) and Phill Sporton (Executive Director Service Delivery) during a field visit with the team. 69
  • 71. CONTENTS TAKING OWNERSHIP... “To say we were a little busy at the time, would have been a huge understatement and I know many team members gave up their weekends to assist in getting our customers back on the air.” By Ian Baker, Service Delivery I saw there were some people in the street sandbagging Date: 15/01/11 shops, obviously getting ready for the rising water A TOUGH Well it actually all started back in early September heading their way. COUPLE 2010, when a strong, cold front passed over So I went to the local SES office to better understand the Murray, Goldfields and High Country the extent of the predicted flooding for Rochy. Our telephone exchange was in the middle of town, so I OF MONTHS regions dropping significant levels of rainfall on the Wangaratta, Shepparton and Bendigo checked in with the local emergency authorities and they said, ‘No, that should be right’... famous last townships. words. There were many flood warnings across many different river systems across the north-east Field Service Area On Saturday I decided to take another drive to Rochy (FSA). This trend of extreme weather continued right from Bendigo. I arrived in Rochy about 7:00am to see water on either side of the road. I thought to myself up until March impacting various parts of our FSA – that it was a little further than they originally thought, as with the entire FSA impacted on one occasion. it was supposed to peak the previous night. To say we were a little busy at the time, would have Upon going to the SES to get an update, I was been a huge understatement and I know many team informed the water was still rising. I managed to get members gave up their weekends to assist in getting some more sandbags and headed to the exchange, our customers back on the air. where the water was rising fast. I got hold of Davin Whether fixing an individual customer fault, or a large Else, one of the local technicians, who kindly pulled on cable outage, the endeavour and commitment was his gumboots and we headed back to the exchange. fantastic. It is a credit to the team that we were able to In the end we had to use a fire truck on site to work our way through the enormous workload in the continually pump out the manhole and stop water timeframe we did. entering the exchange. Rochester At its worst, the main street of Rochester was about Saturday 15 January is a day I will not forget for quite one metre under water. I would say up to 80 per cent a while. of the town was affected by the floodwater. These I heard of a town meeting in the state’s north at floods surpassed any previous flood records. Rochester on Friday 14 January. I was not too far Charlton from there, so proceeded to Rochy to see what was Later that day I headed back to Bendigo and then going on. Rochester was only flooded out a few was flown to Charlton, where we went by boat to the months earlier in October. Upon getting to Rochy, exchange door. The exchange is in the middle of town.70
  • 72. CONTENTSLike Rochy, this was Charlton’s second flood in twomonths. There was over one metre of water in themain street and many houses inundated by floodwaterfrom the Avoca River.The main problem was a power sub-station in Charltonhad failed and it knocked out power to around 40towns in the area. This obviously caused us issues asbatteries began to fail and access to sites was limitedby the substantial flooding on many roads in the area.The priority was to get the generator up and goingto restore communication and transmission pathsas well as mobiles, as the township of Charlton andmany other communities in the vicinity, were withoutcomms.Once we fired up the generator, comms came backonline, which meant emergency services could nowcommunicate with locals to understand impact andco-ordinate recovery efforts.A special mention to the Silcar boys and ServiceDelivery’s Daryl Crosbie, because they weremagnificent in sourcing ways to keep exchanges andmobile sites going and ensuring, once power wasrestored, the site was functional and provided muchneeded communication back to isolated communities.Throughout that weekend and weeks after, we againwitnessed how good Telstra people are in times ofdisaster. Nothing was a problem. The guys just gotin there and got the job done. Everyone went thatextra mile to ensure we did all in our power to get ourcustomers back on the air.Above: Pulling up at the Charlton Exchange.Top Right: Aerial shot from the chopper as we headed into Charlton. The exchange building is situated to the right of the tower. 71Bottom Right: Rochester aerial shot.
  • 73. CONTENTS GETTING ON WITH THE JOB... “Local knowledge played an important role in being able to find alternate ways of access due to the floodwaters. In some cases, the travel time was increased three-fold to get to where we needed to go.” By Daryl Crosbie, Service Delivery Date: 15/01/11 THE The northern Victorian countryside is where I live and work and this area is well known for its lakes Later that day, I attended the Boort Exchange to bring it and the mobile site back online, after a portable HARD YARDS and river systems. In early January we had above 150 millimetres rainfall locally as well as in the upper generator was activated. On Sunday morning, after a frantic call from catchments of the local river and creek systems. Quambatook Fire Brigade, Craig Eade and I attended This has not happened at the same time for more than the Quambatook Exchange with a hired generator 50 years. and brought the transmission links and the exchange The majority of our exchange and mobile buildings back online to enable the mobile service to be were built above previous peak levels, but whether re-established. they would stay dry or not was put to the test this time From Monday, normal power started to return to our around. sites. So for the next three days we were kept busy The Charlton power substation had to be taken off line bringing all our sites back online. and this eventually caused more than 35 exchange Local knowledge played an important role in being and mobile sites to fail. able to find alternate ways of access due to the As mobile services are the mainstay communications floodwaters. In some cases, the travel time was for all emergency service agencies and local increased three-fold to get to where we needed communities, preference was given for standby to go. generators to be allocated to mobile sites and their By close-of-business Wednesday, all Telstra sites in associated transmission paths initially. the flood-affected area were functioning normally. This On Saturday 15 January, during the flood peak was mainly due to the efforts of Darren Grose, Craig which isolated Charlton Township, the exchange Eade, Jeff Schneider, Dave Colley and Tony Farrell. batteries went flat. While the Incident Control Centre (ICC) in Bendigo Emergency Services Liaison Officer (ESLO) and area was operational, our three rotating representatives manager Ian Baker arranged for a helicopter to fly a (Ian Baker, Allan Callaghan and Nick Marotta) kept in team (including Silcar representative Garry Long), into regular contact and did an excellent job in managing the Charlton to activate a standby generator and bring the provisioning of services and maintaining infrastructure. exchange and mobiles back online.72
  • 74. CONTENTSOn Thursday, Kerang was completely isolated byfloodwaters and for several days it was like living ina ghost town, as many residents had left two daysearlier when the official evacuation message was sentto local residents via mobile and telephone services.To save the township, major earthworks were carriedout including ripping up several kilometres of theMurray Valley Highway to form a levee bank. Althoughnotifying the authorities of the three main optic cableentry points to the town, daily monitoring of thesepoints prevented two major incidents from occurring.Bottom Left: Daryl Crosbie providing remote diagnostic support over the phone whilst ‘locked in’ at Kerang. Technicians Darren Grosse and Craig Eade working to restore services.Top Right: Kerang Power station protected by the man-made levee banks built to protect it from rising floodwaters.Bottom Right: Kerang isolation. 73
  • 75. CONTENTS RESPONSIVE... RESPONSIVE... “It was a privilege to work with a team who responded so willingly to support the restoration of customer services during this crisis.” By Peter Craig, Service Delivery Date: 15/01/11 CHARLTON Early Saturday morning 15 February, I received The response of the whole team was outstanding. ISOLATION a phone call from a team member who advised All were willing to help out in any way they could to me he had just heard on ABC local radio that restore services for emergency service agencies and a significant area in central Victoria around St communities impacted by floods. Arnaud, Wedderburn and Charlton was totally The team demonstrated innovation and initiative in isolated by floodwater. The report said these the way they gained access to remote network sites, areas had no communications at all – absolutely using boats, helicopters and fire trucks as means of nothing – they were completely cut-off from the rest transportation to gain access. of the world. It was a privilege to work with a team who responded I immediately called the Network Operations so willingly to support the restoration of customer manager at Telstra’s Global Operations Centre services during this crisis. (GOC) to verify the radio report was accurate. Thoughts of the impacts from the 2009 Bushfires ran through my head and I immediately collaborated with other Field Managers to start resolving this community isolation issue. After investigating, it was apparent there were significant telecommunication issues across all of central Victoria due to flooding creating a power failure at the Charlton sub-station. I contacted the SES and mobilised the team to resolve the power issues at network sites in the area. Due to all access roads being blocked, technical specialist Daryl Crosbie had to be flown in by helicopter to restore power to Charlton and surrounding communities.74
  • 76. CONTENTSOpposite: Charlton Exchange.Top Right: Aerial shot of the Charlton area in flood. 75Bottom: Fire truck trips to and from the exchange, 15/01/11.
  • 77. CONTENTS COMMUNITY SPIRIT... “There are a lot of Telstra people who volunteer with the CFA and emergency services. It’s just another way we can help out in times of need.” Interview with Roger Smith, Information Technology VOLUNTEERING Date: 16/01/11 WITH THE Information Technology solutions manager Roger Smith is one of many Telstra employees CFA who gave up his own time to help out flood- affected Victorian communities. As a Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteer, Roger drove to the Bendigo Incident Control Centre (ICC) on Sunday 16 January, where he worked three nightshifts alongside representatives from the Department of Sustainability & Environment (DSE), CFA, SES and Parks Victoria as well as liaison officers from several companies, including Telstra. “I’d been asked to work as part of the CFA’s planning function. What we do in this role is try to predict the future impact of flooding and put plans in place to limit the damage. Part of the planning role is also to make sure we have the right people, vehicles, tools and equipment available. “I drove up with Andrew Wenczel, a Telstra Operations colleague. Andrew works in Network & IT Operations and he also volunteers with the CFA. He did the dayshifts and I did the nightshifts. “There are a lot of Telstra people who volunteer with the CFA and emergency services. It’s just another way we can help out in times of need,” said Roger. At the ICC teams worked to support flood-affected towns including Kerang, Pyramid Hill, Quambatook, Lake Charm, Lake Boga and Swan Hill.76
  • 78. CONTENTSRESPONSIVE... RESPONSIVE...By Tony Ryan, Service DeliveryDate: 17/01/11We received a report from the Incident Control BRIDGEWATERCentre (ICC) that Bridgewater Exchange wasunderwater. UNDERWATERAlarms indicated that the site wasn’t operating. Soon Sunday afternoon 16 January, State ManagedRadio technician, Roger Williams attended the siteto check out the damage.The exchange building had about half a metre ofwater through it. Sentinar arranged for the buildingto be cleaned out because it was full of mud. Teammanager Wayne Toohey organised the clean-up ofthe exchange yard.On the Monday morning, John Fixter liaised withTelstra’s Global Operations Centre (GOC) to getreplacement spares, cables and various otherpieces of equipment to site. John Hossack broughtthe exchange spares up from Melbourne.The water damage required John and I rebuild one-third of the exchange to get it operational again. ByMonday night, most of the 250 affected customerswere back online.We had the majority of services back up and runningby the next night and I continued to assist John inrebuilding the exchange until Thursday.Opposite: Andrew Wenczel took this aerial view of the town of Culgoa, which is just south-west of Swan Hill.Above Left: Wet equipment inside Bridgewater Exchange. 77Above Right: High-water mark clearly visible in the exchange.
  • 79. CONTENTS DEDICATION... DEDICATION... “I arrived home at about 10:00pm, had driven about 630kms and although tired, felt proud to be out serving the community and to be a part of such a great team.” By John Hossack, Service Delivery Date: 17/01/11 GETTING On Friday 14 January, the rain started. I seemed Tuesday was a long day. I started at Baringhup to STUCK to be at the front-edge of the rain band all day, but after talking with other colleagues I realised restore transmission to RCMs then on to Bendigo and next, Campbell’s Forest for a RIM fault. Due to IN the rain was more widespread. By 9:00am Saturday, Seymour had 70.8 millimetres dumped many road closures, getting to Campbell’s Forest proved difficult. However, with some local knowledge on it, with much of the North West and Goldfields from technicians that live and work in the area, regions of Victoria suffering much worse. I got there. On Saturday afternoon the call came from my team Then it was time to move on from Campbell’s manager to see if I was available to go on standby. Forest to Elmore to meet with Rod Peters. Rod had come from Shepparton with line interface By Monday, the team rallied to restore services for our cards for Bridgewater Exchange. The exchange at customers. I was deployed to Mansfield, Jamieson Bridgewater had been inundated over the weekend. then on to Lancefield restoring and testing Police Radio, Remote Customer Multiplexers, Remote John Fixter and Tony Ryan had worked tirelessly Integrated Multiplexers and some transmission to get it back on the air. I met up with Tony and systems. (Note: RCMs and RIMs are both Telstra team manager Nick Marotta at the roadhouse at infrastructure which are housed in roadside cabinets). Bridgewater to deliver the cards. They were restoring the EFTPOS service, so business at the roadhouse At Lancefield I was staggered to find the RCM could get back in full swing. cabinet at the top-end of a road had taken on water and some of the boards on the bottom racks of The bridge across the Loddon River was closed equipment had been damaged. I was surprised to road traffic at the time, so I walked back to the because the cabinet is close to the top of the street exchange across the bridge. The Bridgewater and is positioned about 1.5 metres above road- Exchange must have had over half a metre of water level. This alone provides a good indication of the through it. huge quantity of water that flowed down this street.78
  • 80. CONTENTSBy the time I’d got there, John, Tony and the Silcarguys had done a fantastic job, basically replacingand re-terminating everything below the waterlineand had already restored services to the community.I arrived home at about 10:00pm, had driven about630 kilometres and although tired, felt proud to beout serving the community and to be a part of sucha great team.My work continued through the week and on theSaturday I put in a day working in at Castlemaine,helping out with line faults.I was amazed as I drove around the district to seethe high-water mark on football oval goal posts andbuildings, well above my Nissan Patrol’s roof.Top: Bridgewater Exchange 15/01/11.Bottom: Tony Ryan leaving a much dryer and tidier Bridgewater Exchange 18/01/11. 79
  • 81. CONTENTS RESPONSIVE... RESPONSIVE... “The 21 hour turnaround could actually be a new record for the provision of emergency coverage to a remote location. I’m not sure if there’s any official documentation around it but trust me, it was quick” Interview with Ron Wilson, Network Construction THE FASTEST Date: 19-20 January 2011 Teams from Network Construction, Service Delivery COW IN THE The small north-west Victorian town of Beulah was hit by floods in late-January. and Networks and Access Technologies worked closely together to set up and activate the CoW while Telstra Country Wide refuelled the generator COUNTRY With the risk of floodwaters pending, Network Construction’s Ron Wilson took an urgent phone each day to keep the services on the air. call on Wednesday afternoon requesting a Cell Among those involved were Nick Balenovic, who on Wheels (CoW) be deployed to the township to was on annual leave at the time but returned to work cope with the influx of emergency service workers and stayed onsite in Beulah until the CoW was on air; assisting with evacuations. Gerard (Buzzer) Williams, who dropped everything and travelled to Beulah to assist Nick without Immediately after the phone call, former-Network hesitation; and the Network Construction Network Construction employee Doug Amey picked up Integration team, who worked from midnight until a CoW from Box Hill and drove it to the Beulah 3:00am to load the data so the CoW could be put to Exchange, arriving at about 10:00pm. air as soon as possible. “He just kept taking detours around the floodwaters and closed roads. The trip from Box Hill would normally take about three and a half hours, but that day it took six and a half,” said Ron. A trailer-mounted three-phase generator was delivered, and by midnight they had the CoW set up onsite and connected. By 2:30am the CoW was configured and ready for activation. The Mobile Coverage Delivery (MCD) team completed the final data preparation, activating the CoW at 9:30am on Thursday. “The 21 hour turnaround could actually be a new record for the provision of emergency coverage to a remote location. I’m not sure if there’s any official documentation around it but trust me, it was quick,” Ron said.80
  • 82. CONTENTSCOLLABORATION...By Daryl Beseler, Service DeliveryDate: 24/01/11I was part of the initial taskforce that was sent SAVED FROM Ato Charlton to assist in the recovery. It wasdefinitely the worst I’d ever seen in terms ofdevastation to a town. REAL DIRTY JOBWe virtually door-knocked every house in Charltonto see if they had service – would have been around400 homes.I couldn’t help wondering what would happen tothese homes because they were so badly damagedby the flood waters and what would happen to thepeople who lived in them.Emergency services had a really strong presence intown with fire trucks everywhere. The volunteer firebrigade were there to offer assistance to anybodywho needed physical manpower to empty out theirhomes and clean up the mud.There were also lots of other volunteers happy tohelp out where it was needed.There were heaps of stories, but one which hasstayed with me was when we had to work ina manhole in the main street but it had beencontaminated with raw sewerage.A fire truck came to help us out, washing andpumping it out before we had to get in there, savingus from what could have been a really dirty job.Above: Charlton in flood.Opposite Left: CoW set-up went late into the night. 81Opposite Right: CoW set-up completed and activated by 9.30am the next day.
  • 83. CONTENTS GETTING ON WITH THE JOB... “We had 13 Field Service Areas (FSAs) affected by the rain and floods with thousands of kilometres of cable under water.” By John (Tack) Hewett, Service Delivery Date: 28/01/11 TACK’LING On 28 January, the media were saying the I would like to make special mention of the THE floods may last for days. How wrong they were, Three-and-a-half months later and the new communication technicians that worked in the recovery: TOUGH STUFF lakes filled by the rain will have water in them for the next 12 months. Laurie Barber (C&M* Swan Hill), Craig Lawry (I&M* Swan Hill), Peter O’Loughlan (I&M Swan Hill), We had 13 Field Service Areas (FSAs) affected by Brad Crocker (C&M Ballarat), Brad Shaw (C&M the rain and floods with thousands of kilometres Ballarat), Dean Conti (C&M Ballarat), Leo Muir (C&M of cable under water. Field teams moved in from Ballarat), Bruce Campbell (C&M Warrnambool), Perth, Melbourne, Ballarat, Warrnambool, Horsham, Rod Stevenson (C&M Horsham), Mick Bobstchinski Mildura and Swan Hill. (C&M Mildura), Peter Hickey (I&M Mildura), Frank Hickey (I&M Mildura), Daryl O’Brien (Labour Hire I would have to say the weather conditions this Kerang), Russell Petzke (Labour Hire Kerang), Glen summer have been a huge challenge for all McKissak (Labour Hire Swan Hill), Brendan Tyler concerned. The conditions have been trying, with (C&M Melbourne), Craig Murchie (C&M Melbourne), the floodwaters taking three months to drop and the Brett Ball (C&M Melbourne), Nathan Olivieri (C&M vegetation growing so vigorously it is now almost Perth), Alastair Babbe (C&M Perth), Brett Matthews impossible to find cable markers and elevated joints. (C&M Perth), Stephen Spicer (C&M Perth), Rob We have run approximately ten kilometres of Dahllof (C&M Melbourne), Robert Snowden (I&M temporary (slave) cable, remade hundreds of joints Geelong) and Larry Lane (I&M Geelong). that have been underwater and reported hundreds *C&M = Construct & Maintenance / I&M = Install & Maintenance of joints that require permanent repair.82
  • 84. CONTENTS On one occasion Tack used three modes of transport to fix one customer fault. He took the customer’s agi bike to follow the cable route, rowed his way across a paddock to check out the problem and then hitched a ride via the customer’s tractor to get back to the house. Tack said, “Boy did we have one happy customer when it was done!”Above Top: Tack rowing a tinny across customer’s paddock to check out the problem.Above Bottom: Tack with an elevated joint (at Kerang-Boort Road, Dingwall). The EJ had a sealed heat-shrink joint installed to waterproof it. At the peak of the flood Tack reckons the water level was just below his hand on the EJ. 83
  • 85. CONTENTS RESPONSIVE... RESPONSIVE... “Fire went across the Princes Highway between Nowa Nowa and Orbost damaging the mains power feed to East Gippsland.” By John Fixter, Service Delivery Date: Early-February 2011 FIRE The first week of February saw bushfires in East AND Gippsland. Fire went across the Princes Highway between Nowa FLOOD Nowa and Orbost, damaging the mains power feed to East Gippsland. The effect of this was over a dozen exchanges and mobile sites were without mains power for some time and the batteries started going flat, so I arranged for the deployment of generators to keep the sites working. When we could get through, Silcar Energy Solutions connected generators and we went around after them fixing any comms issues that showed up after power was restored. Following the first week of fires it was back to Mildura to restore service to a roadside cabinet at Mildura South which had been inundated with floodwater. This required temporarily raising the Remote Integrated Multiplexer (RIM) cabinet and replacing four access panels and some cabling to restore service. In March, Bega and Bombala area was hit with heavy rain which washed out a number of optical fibre cables and caused a number of exchanges to be isolated until access was given to affected areas and repairs could be made. I was able to help out remotely, checking out alarms and helping the local team manager Peter Chapple and technical specialist Jamie Bond with information on the fibre runs over the phone.84
  • 86. CONTENTSRESPONSIVE... RESPONSIVE... By Michael Ennor, Service Delivery Date: 04/02/11 On Friday night 4 February, our transmission DOING nightshift crew were sent to South Melbourne Telephone Exchange for a fault on a Customer Multiplexer (CMUX). Upon arrival they found heavy THE NIGHTSHIFT rain had overflowed from the outside guttering and ran inside the roof cavity, and then leaked on to the CMUX equipment on the first floor of South Melbourne Telephone Exchange. The damage this caused affected almost all Telstra Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) services in the South Once again, as part of the transmission night Melbourne area. crew, I worked overnight to restore these services, until a relief crew took over the following morning. The nightshift worked until 7:00am the following The crews worked around the clock until Monday morning to restore services and then handed over morning, restoring some 90 percent of services. to a second group who worked all day Saturday. Various roadside Remote Integrated Multiplexer By Saturday night, more than 80 percent of services (RIM) and Customer Multiplexer (CMUX) units in had been restored. The remaining services were areas such as Laverton and Springvale were also restored as soon as spare units were sourced. affected by heavy rain in the area and the team got On the same night, a similar incident of overflowing stuck in to repairing these, knowing how people rely gutters caused water to enter the ceiling space of on being connected during these critical times. Brighton Telephone Exchange. The water leaked down through the ceiling and damaged transmission equipment on the first floor of the exchange before continuing down to the ground floor and damaging 12 suites of System 12 equipment. This water damage affected approximately 5,000 customer telephone services in the Brighton area.Opposite: Seventeenth Street RIM cabinet, Mildura, which required raising for obvious reasons.Above: South Melbourne Exchange flooded. 85
  • 87. CONTENTS COLLABORATION... “It’s great how everyone just gets stuck in and helps each other out during an emergency.” By Brad Crocker, Service Delivery Date: 14/02/11 JUST Carisbrook was flooded Friday 14 February, the flood was caused by the overflowing of the OUT OF reservoir to the east of the town, which flooded most of the northern part of town. HARM’S Sandbagging was performed to stop the flooding in the southern part of town but to everyone’s surprise WAY the flood waters came around from the west and flooded the rest of Carisbrook. No one in the town had ever seen anything like it. The river was 15 metres higher than normal, within 1 metre from the bridge. Getting around the town was by boat only, with no vehicle access at all. We weren’t sure if the exchange had been flooded, so I asked if the SES could check it out for us. The SES visited our exchange by boat and confirmed we were very lucky, it hadn’t been inundated. But, according to their report, only a few inches stood between our exchange and the floodwater. The entire town of Carisbrook near Ballarat was flooded, with the exception of our telephone exchange and the post office. All the agencies worked really well together including Telstra and Power Corp. It’s great how everyone just gets stuck in and helps each other out during an emergency.86
  • 88. CONTENTSCUSTOMER DRIVEN... By Brad Shaw, Delivery Date: mid-February 2011 Most of my work was on an excavator, digging KERANG around elevated joints that were underwater. However, there was one customer visit we made in CUSTOMER RAPT Kerang which stood out at the time. The customer runs an engineering business from his home, so relies heavily on comms to keep his business going. Unfortunately, his home-business had been badly flooded. Rob Dahllof replaced all his sockets, which was more than was expected by the customer at the time. We also dug across his driveway and replaced a damaged cable and returned later to level off his driveway from where we’d dug previously. The customer said he was really rapt with what we’d done.Opposite: Brad Crocker at Carisbrook checking in with the SES to see if the exchange is flooded.Above: Brad Shaw following Greg Lovel on the way to a cable fault at Wycheproof. 87
  • 89. CONTENTS CARING COLLEAGUES... “Not only do we remember the devastation, but also the generosity that came from such an event...” By Janet MacKey, Service Delivery Date: February/March 2011 WHAT GOES As the tragedy of the Queensland floods We sent $250 to the Queensland RSPCA to go emerged, the Test and Fulfilment centre in towards assisting animals who were impacted by AROUND Victoria decided that we wanted to contribute to the recovery process. the floods. COMES AROUND We wanted to show our support in this time of need, We also sent $250 to a co-worker in Service Delivery, Genise Benz. Genise lives in Brisbane and lost her for we well remember the impacts a disaster has home and contents during the floods. from the Victorian Bushfires in 2009. We also gathered donated items here in Victoria to Not only do we remember the devastation, but send up to Tanya to distribute as required. Some of also the generosity that came from such an event, the items collected included kitchen and household especially from one particular lady, Tanya Vidgen items such as kettles, toasters, sheets, stationery, from Network Construction. toiletries and also toys. Tanya works in Brisbane and during the Victorian We packed and forwarded the items donated Bushfires she read an article from the Telstra Proud onto Tanya in Brisbane who distributed them for website which motivated her do some fundraising us as needed to the flood disaster areas. We even for us. She sent many boxes of items she gathered arranged for a collection of 73 teddy bears/soft toys for us to distribute in the Kinglake area. for children affected, who may have lost their special friends. During the Queensland floods Tanya was again busily fundraising and volunteering her time. She even As a centre we should all be so proud of how we took some time off work to assist in the evacuation have made a difference, every gesture no matter centres. how big or small, is being sent on to those impacted in Queensland with our most sincere thoughts for We remembered what Tanya and her fellow their welfare. Queenslanders did for our Victorian friends. So during the Queensland floods we became a charity group It was a privilege to work with a team who responded and organised many traditional, as well as creative, so willingly to support the restoration of customer events to raise money. Such events included Hot services during this crisis. Dog Day, Nifty Fifty, collecting gold coin for casual dress day, just to name a few. Many from our team also contributed to the Telstra online flood appeal.88
  • 90. CONTENTSTop: (l-r) Chris Tibb, Des Scully, Matthew Chick, Jessica Prakash, Jatinder Singh, Dhwani Palany, Erick Magpantay, Janet Mackey and Steve Geddes - all were a part of the Victorian charity team who assisted in raisingfunds and collecting household items and toys for those impacted in Queensland. Bottom Left: Tanya with just some of the boxes holding donations from the Test and Fulfilment team in Victoria packed for distribution 89throughout Queensland. Bottom Right: Tanya presenting Genise her gift from the Test and Fulfilment team.
  • 91. CONTENTS DEDICATION... DEDICATION... “The owner of the local camping and fishing store commented to me one day how amusing it was to see Telstra blokes walking out of his shop with waders and boogie boards.” By Craig Lawry, Service Delivery Date: 10/03/11 TELSTRA The Telstra presence was undoubtedly One customer story that comes to mind is of a farmer, noticeable, “There are Telstra blokes from Murrabit who lives near the Loddon River, who BLOKES everywhere,” a local resident commented to me. And as a local CT (communication drove approximately two kilometres on his tractor through floodwater to pick up an interim phone from EVERYWHERE technician), I too can remember thinking this and being impressed the same way he was. me. This was the closest point I could get to his house. I had it pre-programmed and gave him a crash I take my hat off to the technicians who had to course on setting it up. He stowed it safely in his endure extremely trying circumstances. Such as esky on the back tray of the tractor and half-an-hour wading waist deep in residual floodwaters, dealing later a successful test call was made to one very with the daily struggle of not getting bogged, the happy farmer. inconvenience of bridges and roads having been washed away, snakes, spiders and mosquitoes – the latter were at times unbearable, the terrible smell of contaminated floodwaters and the long hours worked. And all this went on for months. The owner of the local camping and fishing store commented to me one day how amusing it was to see Telstra blokes walking out of his shop with waders and boogie boards. As I was involved in installing interim Next G® phone services, I was also impressed at how understanding our customers were. I think this was due to the widespread presence of the Telstra flood response team and also the fact that outstanding faults were locally managed and customers were kept informed.90
  • 92. CONTENTSCUSTOMER DRIVEN...By Matt Shaw, Service DeliveryDate: 24 March 2011On 24 March, the east coast of Tasmania A new conduit was weighted down across the 120 RECORD RAIN RECORD RAINreceived 128 millimetres in the 24-hour periodto break the daily record set previously in 1946. metre river crossing, new cables were installed and connected, restoring service 11 days after the AND RIVER AND RIVERWith this record rainfall came a rise in the Swan River,just north of Swansea, to levels only ever witnessed original cables had been washed away. Customers serviced by this cable were understanding CROSSINGS CROSSINGSby the oldest residents of the town. of the challenges faced by replacing the river crossing and were most appreciative when servicesThe increased flow brought with it a large amount of were restored and back to normal.debris from up-river, including many large trees. Oneof these trees was seen by a local resident, whoseproperty overlooks the Swan River, getting lodgedon something in the river, remain stationary for acouple of minutes then continue its journey downriver.As discovered several days later after the waterreceded, the cause of the tree becoming lodgedwas a Telstra river crossing – two cables whichprovide service to the farms and vineyards northof Swansea. Both cables were ripped apart by theforce of the flowing river and debris causing servicedisruption to these properties.Unfortunately, there was not a temporary solutionto restore service to these customers and the 29affected services were managed by interim phonesolutions and diversions, organised by local teammanager Greg Allanby and local technician DavidMaddocks.The South Tassie Construct & Maintenance team,lead by John Seabourne and I, assessed the repairoptions when the water had receded some five dayslater and organised for a new river crossing to beinstalled by Service Stream contractors.Opposite: Peter O’Loughlan, wading through water caused by Lake Boort overflowing and inundating the Yando/Boort area (29/01/2011). There was an elevated joint with loadingcoils (not shown here), that had become submerged. Peter was able to walk up to the joint, remove the coils, remake the joint and provide service for affected customers. 91Above: Greg Allanby and Dave Maddocks.
  • 93. CONTENTSPeter Shipley (above), along with other colleagues who were stranded in Taringa in the middle of a red zone, helped out locals by sandbagging houses,moving cars from floodwaters and spent an entire day helping evacuate the local retirement village. See related story, ‘Community comes together’ (p.116).
  • 95. CONTENTS RESPONSIVE... RESPONSIVE... “Our recovery efforts in January 2011 were also supported by a 29 strong workforce from New Zealand.” By Malcolm McKellar, Service Delivery Date: 3 October 2010 onwards READY Our Peak Load strategy supports Service Delivery Northern’s commitment to minimise FOR service disruptions caused to impacted communities during and after extreme weather ACTION conditions. Our strategy requires the secondment of both intra and inter regional team members to assemble an additional workforce prior to the commencement of Northern Australia’s wet season, which typically starts in October. During the peak load period (1 November to 30 April) our headquarters is based at the Brisbane Airport exchange. This location provides a point for quick transfer from either the domestic or international terminals. This ensures the Northern region has arrangements in place, well ahead of time, to effectively deal with fault volume increases due to extreme weather events. In addition to our own Telstra workforce, our recovery efforts in January 2011 were also supported by a 29 strong workforce from New Zealand. See related story, ‘Help from across the ditch’ (p.134).94
  • 96. CONTENTSCOMMITMENT... COMMITMENT...As told by Peter Nash, Service DeliveryDate: 12/12/10An Australian Defence Force fixed-wing aircraft The exchange paddock was the safest place for the FLYING IN TOwas used to fly communication technicians helicopter to land close to the damaged cable. Once(CTs) Marshall Watego and Bob Lang intoKingaroy to repair a fibre optic cable which landed at the exchange, the duo met up with local techs to repair the damaged optic fibre. FIX FIBREwas washed away during the floods. The guys worked solidly until they finished the repairTaking test equipment and a 60-fibre cable with at 9:00pm – more than 24 hours after they began.them, Marshall and Bob flew into Kingaroy at 7:30pm The commitment they’ve shown has been trulyand worked into the night until they located the fault fantastic.near the Blackbutt Range at around 10:30pm thatevening.Landslides and local flooding meant the range wasclosed and the only way across was by air. A helicopterwas arranged and Marshall and Bob were flownacross to Moore Exchange the following morning.Opposite: Some of the Peak Load team with Telstra’s CEO (l-r) Dale Peppernell, Terry Hayden, Matthew Thornton, Malcolm McKellar, Denis Dunn, David Thodey, Mary Rennie, Peter Cordell and Jason Jurczynski. Other Peak Loadteam members missing from this photograph were: Glenn Alexander, Graham Facer, Murray Young, Jared Bellgardt, Greg Anderson, Danny Freeman, Dave Jolley, Dave Kincaid, Bruce Dowling, Max Hamill and Paul Weeks. 95Above Left: Marshall Watego at Kingaroy. Above Right: (l-r) Parked at Moore Exchange paddock are Marshall Watego, Laurie Kipping and Bob Lang.
  • 97. CONTENTS GETTING ON WITH THE JOB... “The team then got to work digging under a footpath so the cable could reach the necessary manhole to restore services.” As told by Peter Spence, Service Delivery Date: 29/12/10 QUICK FIX A fibre cable across the Dee River which feeds CONNECTS the small town of Mount Morgan, south of Rockhampton, was washed away in the floods. CUSTOMERS In the pouring rain, armed with equipment, employees from Service Delivery and Network Construction were sent from Rockhampton to repair the damage. Those involved from Service Delivery included Ashley Scharf, Zac Hancock, David Tweed, Raymond McFarlane, David Smith, Wally Van Peperstraten, Barry Fletcher and Peter Spence. The team was completed with Brad Swales and Anthony Pound from Network Construction. The new cable was hauled from a manhole, up and over the bridge and through a storm water pipe. The team then got to work digging under a footpath so the cable could reach the necessary manhole to restore services. Six hours later, the ten men had resolved the issue without the help of the usual heavy machinery. The next night many of these technicians were involved in restoring services during a fibre outage in Bundaberg. Please see the following story.96
  • 98. CONTENTSDEDICATION... DEDICATION...Interview with Shaun Walliss, Service DeliveryDate: 30/12/2010When an optical fibre in Bundaberg was washed “The slave (temporary cable) covered over one kilometre and passed three road crossings, two THE MAGNIFICENTaway, seven technicians worked overnight toresolve the issue. parks, a bridge and a block of units. It wasn’t an easy task, especially in the conditions,” said Shaun SEVENThese were Peter Spence, Ashley Scharf, David Walliss, field team manager for Bundaberg.Smith, Zac Hancock, Wally Van Peperstraten,Steven Smith and David Aldridge. “Everyone just got stuck in and worked until it was fixed. We had five guys from Rockhampton whoThe team worked together for 13 hours restoring didn’t hesitate to help, even though there was a realservices to around 3,000 affected customers. threat they might not have been able to make it back home because of the flooding,” he added. The five Rocky guys were Peter Spence, Ashley Scharf, David Smith, Zac Hancock and Wally Van Peperstraten.Opposite: (l-r) Peter Spence, David Smith, David Aldridge and Ashley Scharf.Top Right: (l-r) Peter Spence, David Aldridge, Ashley Scharf and David Smith on the Burnett River Bridge. 97Bottom Right: (l-r) David Smith and David Aldridge. Bottom Left: (l-r) David Smith, David Aldridge and Peter Spence.
  • 99. CONTENTS COMMUNITY SPIRIT... “The damage meant there was no mobile or landline services around the town of Gin Gin” As told by Mark Graham, Service Delivery Date: 30/12/10 HOMEWARD Service Delivery’s Wayne Baker was making an early morning run home from Gladstone BOUND to Brisbane in anticipation of beating rising floodwaters on Thursday 30 December. At the time Wayne was unaware the main bridge into Bundaberg had flooded during the night which resulted in a major fibre cut. The damage meant there was no mobile or landline services around the town of Gin Gin. Wayne arrived in Gin Gin only to be recruited by the local Mayor and SES personnel to provide assistance. Without hesitation Wayne was able to provide the use of his satellite phone for the SES to contact Bundaberg and arrange emergency phones to be dispatched to Gin Gin and also for the Mayor to contact regional emergency services to determine the extent of damage in the area. On their arrival, Wayne also assisted in the setting up and the operation of the satellite phones. With the road to the south open and the SES communicating once again, Wayne continued on his journey home, only ten hours later than expected.98
  • 100. CONTENTSTAKING OWNERSHIP...Interviews with David Webb andCraig Bartlett, Service DeliveryDate: Late-December 2010 THE ARMY, POLICE AND“We can laugh about it all now, like how we were Services Liaison Officer (ESLO), Craig Bartlett. Craigdoing a hefty 30 knots through the cotton fields then called on assistance from the State Disasterto get to where we needed to go, but it was Co-ordination Group (SDCG).pretty grim and serious when it was actuallyhappening... especially when we started to run “Within 12 hours the SDCG and the Army were DAVE TO THEout of beer!” – Dave Webb able to organise a Black Hawk helicopter to be available to transport two generators, fuel and an RESCUEIn the last weeks of December 2010, Theodore in electrician from Rockhampton to Theodore.Central Queensland saw the highest floods on record “As we expect from the Army, everything ran likewith rivers rising to 14.7 metres and floodwatersinundating 98 percent of houses and businesses. clockwork and Dave and the local Police were on site at Theodore to assist with the unloadingA couple of days after Christmas, almost all of the and installation of the equipment. This ensured300 residents in the town had been evacuated by communications were maintained for emergencyhelicopter to another mining community at Moura. services and for the community as they started toCommunication technician Dave Webb is based at return home,’’ said Craig.Theodore and has spent most of his career working Dave co-ordinated with the local constabulary toin the area. keep refilling the generators until power was restoredDuring the floods, although his own property was and he continued to monitor the equipment toaffected, Dave was one of the very few essential ensure it kept functioning correctly after everythingservice people who remained in the township. had successfully been turned back on.Dave spent his time travelling by boat from a smallevacuation centre at the local golf club to the mainexchange to make sure water was not inundatingexchange equipment.Ergon Energy had to disconnect power to thetownship due to the significant height of thefloodwaters and the danger it posed to thecommunity. This left the main exchange withoutpower and only 10 hours of battery life.Dave had to turn the entire exchange off, exceptfor the Optomux (optic fibre) system which kept thelocal mobile base station working.With no generators in the township large enoughto power the exchange and no road or rail access,Dave contacted the group’s Regional EmergencyOpposite: Wayne Baker on an earlier job travelling by barge from Brisbane to Moreton Island to perform radio system maintenance.Above Top: Packing the gensets and other equipment in Rockhampton. Above Bottom: Dave Webb took this shot of the Black Hawk’s arrival at Theodore and was on hand to help unload equipment. 99
  • 101. CONTENTS COMMUNITY SPIRIT... “In preparation for the worst, Shane and Steve filled and loaded over 500 sandbags for the community...” Interviews with Steve Strugnell and Shane Golding, EXCHANGE Service Delivery Date: 06/01/11 WRAPPED As flood warnings for St George increased IN PLASTIC in severity, two local technicians got to work preparing the town’s only exchange for the looming floodwaters. Steve Strugnell and Shane Golding sealed all the vents with heavy duty plastic and tape. They then filled over one hundred sandbags by hand, which they used to hold the plastic covering in place around the walls of the building. In preparation for the worst, Shane and Steve filled and loaded over 500 sandbags for the community and attended disaster meetings, while also continuing their work repairing customer faults. Thankfully, the water did not reach the peak expected and the exchange’s temporary shield was not fully tested.100
  • 102. CONTENTSCARING COLLEAGUES...By Sue Ikin and Dave Marshman,Service DeliveryDate: 10/01/11 One employee found his residence severely flood- TOOWOOMBA – ANOn Monday, 10 January, with the ground fullysaturated following a weekend of heavy rain,Toowoomba received approximately 225 damaged and uninhabitable and he and his family found shelter with friends. INSIDER’S VIEWmillimetres of rain during a six hour period, Another, who lives in Toowoomba, left early to findwith the majority of the rain recorded in just floodwater coming out of his front door. Investigatingone to two hours. further he found 20 centimetres of water throughoutA very large volume of water run-off flowed through his house with many personal belongings damaged Several Toowoomba colleagues assisted in theToowoomba, coursing down streets and creeks and beyond repair. clean up and many, many more Field Deliverycausing flash floods in several parts of the city. The impacts of the flooding in Toowoomba and team members donated funds to assist impactedDue to the rapid onset of the event, no early surrounds have been well documented by the media. employees and their families to get back on theirwarning or precautions were able to be issued or The effect on impacted employees has been very feet. All Infrastructure Solutions teams held fundimplemented. Tragically, lives were lost and residents emotional and stressful, with many weeks of manual raising events in support of their colleagues.of the Lockyer Valley suffered considerably. labour required to repair and reinstate homes and property.Due to concern for their family members, friends andpossible property damage, Field Delivery employeeswho lived at Murphy’s Creek left work early that day,hoping roads to home had not become inaccessible.These employees phoned back to work to advisethe streets were like rivers and recommended othersstill at work consider leaving early, but to take caretravelling.Some employees attempted to travel via the NewEngland Highway. However, it was blocked dueto landslides with traffic at a standstill until policeopened one lane on the down section of the four-lane highway.The floodwaters tore down the range, with water run-off from the eastern side of the range converging intoa flash flood through Murphy’s Creek. Water flowedonwards through the Lockyer Valley to Granthamand beyond, gaining momentum and volume as itprogressed.Waters which had flooded Toowoomba city thenflowed west to centres along Gowrie Creek and theCondamine River.Above: John Jackson presenting Field Delivery’s Sue Ikin with the funds collected in Toowoomba from Infrastructure Solutions and Service Integrity teams (these teams are part of the wider Service Delivery team).Opposite: St George exchange wrapped in plastic and sandbagged. 101
  • 103. CONTENTS STARTING TO REBUILD... “Our 1 metre wide creek was over 750 metres wide at the height of the flooding.” By Peter Sticklen, Network Construction Date: 10/01/11 FLASH Peter Sticklen, a Network Construction FLOODING operative on annual leave was at home with his wife on their property at Postman’s Ridge, HITS WITH Lockyer Valley when flash flooding hit with no notice on Monday 10 January. Peter provides us with his account of what happened. NO NOTICE These photographs show what took place in just 25 minutes at our property with only my wife and I at home at the time. It started with water only at the back of our shed, and in 25 minutes it was all over and heading down the valley and away from us. Our 1 metre wide creek was over 750 metres wide at the height of the flooding. The water on the western side of our house was 1.5 metres high. It was 3 metres high at our shed, which was totally washed away. Earlier that day my team manager had asked if he could borrow my work vehicle, because I was on holidays and another operative’s vehicle had been flooded. My vehicle was collected at 12:30pm and our shed was washed away at 1:30pm. My work vehicle had been parked in that shed, so fortunately it was saved. Unfortunately, we had only just purchased our first ever brand new car. It was 28 days old, with less than 500 kilometres on the clock and it was now a write-off. However, we are just happy to be here to talk about it and we are starting to rebuild at long last. And yes, by the way, we now have another brand new car.102
  • 104. CONTENTSOpposite Top: Rising. Opposite Bottom: Rising higher.Top Left: Rising higher and higher. Top Right: Our back verandah became a raging torrent of water. 103Bottom Left: The western side of the house. Bottom Right: There goes the new shed.
  • 105. CONTENTS RESPONSIVE.... RESPONSIVE.... “The response from our field and support workforce was, as always, first class...” By John Parkin, Service Delivery Date: 10 January 2011 onwards MEETING THE The summer of 2010/11 will certainly go down As a company and across all business units, we CHALLENGE in the record books as a summer without precedent in terms of the extreme natural came together to ensure a co-ordinated and united response. HEAD-ON events that besieged Queensland. From the floods in regional towns and cities, the flooding of The response from our field and support workforce was, as always, first class and the speed with which Brisbane to Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Yasi which we were able to restore services to our customers devastated parts of North Queensland – all in all it’s across all parts of Queensland was truly outstanding. been quite a year! Everyone involved has played a vital role and I Amidst all of the devastation and challenges would like to sincerely thank them for their support, associated with the number and complexity of commitment and professionalism during what the events, the team always kept a good sense of were extraordinary and exceptional circumstances. purpose and humour. I remember during the height A genuine spirit to do the very best we could on of the floods in Rockhampton, I overheard the team behalf of impacted communities, meant we were discussing a CoW being located on North Keppel able to meet any challenge thrown our way head-on. Island. I was surprised to hear this information and started to quiz the restoration team about why a CoW had been located onto an island with very few phone services. Well, there were smiles all around when it was explained to me that a four legged cow of the bovine variety had been washed down the Fitzroy River and out to sea and ended up on North Keppel Island. I had wrongly assumed that they were discussing the deployment of a CoW (Cell on Wheels), which is an interim, mobile base station often set up to provide mobile services when permanent base stations are off the air.104
  • 106. CONTENTSTop Left: Work undertaken in and around Brisbane to reconnect customers was substantial (Greg Anderson above). Top Right: Flooding at Withcott, Lockyer Valley.Bottom Left: Road access was a major issue. A road just north of Esk, South East Queensland. 105Bottom Right: Mission Beach (pictured), Dunk Island and numerous other North Queensland townships were devastated after Cyclone Yasi impacted the area.
  • 107. CONTENTS RECOGNITION... RECOGNITION... “For me John provided a single source of the truth of what was happening across the organisation from top to bottom.” As told by Craig Bartlett, Service Delivery John ensured the emergency service groups were Date: 10/01/11 onwards well supported by having managers participate in all KEEP During the crisis in Queensland, Craig Bartlett meetings. He also based one of the management team with Emergency Management Queensland to CALM performed the Regional Emergency Services Liaison Officer (ESLO) role, was a participant in share resources and minimise the delays in restoring war room* activities and assisted John Parkin, and services to key sites. AND Regional Service Director Northern Region, who led the Queensland flood and Cyclone Yasi Soon after impact, John made field visits to the Lockyer Valley, Toowoomba, Ipswich, Brisbane, CARRY ON recovery effort. I would like to acknowledge John who led the Cairns and Townsville where he carried out network assessments and checked in with some of his field Queensland flood and Cyclone Yasi recovery effort. crews, residents and business owners to ensure His ability to keep calm and provide clear and all was being done from a telecommunications concise direction during a time when Mother Nature restoration point of view. was unleashing her wrath and everyone was in unchartered territory was nothing short of amazing, John worked closely with the community, attending motivating and inspiring. community meetings and, with representation from a charity sponsored by Andrew Forrest, was During the week of the Brisbane floods (week instrumental in organising a new permanent mobile commencing 10/01/11) Brisbane CBD was evacuated base station at the disaster impacted area of and a temporary war room was established at the Murphy’s Creek. Boondall Depot for those staff with access. Jon O’Brien (Group General Manager, Queensland John, although his house/suburb was cut off by floodwaters for several days, continued to lead the State Government, Telstra Enterprise & Government) team whilst stranded at his home. said of John’s ability to keep all informed with the latest information: “For me John provided a single On Monday 17 January, under John’s direction, a source of the truth of what was happening across dedicated war room was established at 275 George the organisation from top to bottom. He was able Street, Brisbane for representatives of the flood to guide, coach and support me with the right recovery team. These included Telstra’s external information at the right time to keep our external partners, such as IBM Logistics and others, and the stakeholders, such as the Premier’s Disaster room was used to co-locate team members and hold frequent, face-to-face meetings. Management Group, well informed and confident of Telstra’s response.” This approach, in conjunction with open conference *A war room is where key decision makers, influencers and subject matter bridges (e.g. Operations bridge and Global Operations experts are based for the duration of a significant, telecommunication Centre’s open tech bridge), worked extremely well and infrastructure impacting event (or at least gather on a daily basis) to share information, ideas, priorities and actions to keep our customers connected. after Cyclone Yasi, war rooms were also established in Cairns and Townsville.106
  • 108. CONTENTSTop Left: Premier of Queensland Anna Bligh described the devastation to the Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley region as an ‘inland tsunami’. Top Right: A strong army presence at Murphy’s Creek and Grantham.Middle Left: Dean Currey, Jason Wade and John Parkin outside Grantham Exchange.Bottom Left: John Parkin chatting with a local across a washed-out bridge just outside of Murphy’s Creek - “How’s services mate? Are you still connected?” - “Yup, no worries and thanks for asking.” 107Bottom Right: Leaving Grantham after checking the exchange and generator.
  • 109. CONTENTS CUSTOMER DRIVEN... “Throughout all this time they worked tirelessly, frequently putting in 12 hour days and always maintaining the focus on our customers.” As told by Greg Anderson, Service Delivery 23 creek crossings destroyed. The team did a Date: 10/01/11 magnificent job to restore and reconstruct the STAYING On 10 January, the infamous ‘inland tsunami’ network back to standard. THE hit Toowoomba and tore through the Murphy’s Creek, Grantham and Gatton areas of the Right from the start our staff in the worst affected areas used innovative and inventive ways of getting services restored. This included casting a fishing COURSE Lockyer Valley. The devastation, loss of life and property was shocking. line over flooded crossings to haul fibre and copper cables across the creek. On this day we had two Construction & Maintenance peak load team members Chris Wilson and Charlie Throughout all this time they worked tirelessly, Fucile on secondment from Service Delivery’s Central frequently putting in 12 hour days and always Region working in an area just outside of Gatton. maintaining the focus on our customers. Both worked in the Lockyer Valley region from the The whole team including Charlie and Chris deserves beginning of the disaster until 19 April, when they recognition for their determination to stick it out until finally left the Lockyer Valley to head home to the the last customers were reconnected and should be south coast of New South Wales. proud of their efforts. For a little over three months they were heavily involved in Telstra’s repair and reconstruction program focused on the Mt Sylvia and Woodbine exchange areas where severe flooding had washed out roads and bridges including the majority of our network in the area. The technicians spent most of this time working up and around the Lockyer Valley as part of the larger reconstruction team replacing poles, fibre and copper cables and remaking the dozens of joints which had been damaged and destroyed by the floodwaters. The worst affected was a 24 kilometre stretch of valley running up into the Great Dividing Range called Black Duck Creek, which had approximately108
  • 110. CONTENTSOpposite: At Belford Bridge, Gatton, where teams had to provide a temporary aerial fibre solution while the bridge was being fixed. Bottom Left: (l-r) Gary Menegon, Greg Long and James Barker inspect bore pipe damage atBlack Duck Creek, Mt Sylvia. Bottom Right: Working to restore services to Mt Sylvia residents are (l-r) John Mason and Eric Walsh. Top Left: Black Duck Creek causeway washout, Mt Sylvia. Top Right: (l-r) Chris Wilson, Ray 109Woods, Phil Morton, Greg Long, James Barker, Dean Turner, Greg Anderson and Charlie Fucile. (Missing) Grant (Kiwi) Cunard, Danny Freeman, Brett Barlow and Dwayne Smith.
  • 111. CONTENTS CARING COLLEAGUES... “The city and suburbs were awash with heavy rain and roads were clogged with traffic as staff made their way home.” By Lynne Bell, Service Delivery away with offers to assist. Brisbane call queues were Date: 11/01/11 diverted to Network Integrity in Western Australia and BRISBANE As the Brisbane Field Delivery team watched all non-impacted Infrastructure Solutions teams and Gavin Glanville, a tech specialist from Delivery Support news reports of the floods across regional & Planning (DS&P), worked at the Boondall Depot for CBD Queensland, little did we know the focus would soon switch to our own city. two days to assist with planning volumes. SHUTS We watched as Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley Following assurances the George Street building was safe to re-enter, all Brisbane staff were advised were swamped by walls of water, the likes of which DOWN we had never seen before. Infrastructure Solutions Toowoomba staff closely monitored the situation to return to work on Monday, 17 January. We were fortunate to have power on the whole time the CBD was evacuated, with buildings closer to the Story especially for those employees with properties in Bridge end of the CBD not so lucky. outlying areas, to ensure all field team members were accounted for and were safe. Some FE&I team members lost their homes and belongings. However, through the generosity of spirit In the meantime, from our George Street premises shown by FE&I colleagues from right across the we watched as the Brisbane River started to rise. country, funds totalling over $15,000 were raised in a Up to 2,000 Telstra employees were among those short timeframe to help impacted team members to who evacuated Brisbane’s CBD on 11 January, when get back on their feet. the river broke its banks. The city and suburbs were awash with heavy rain and roads were clogged with traffic as staff made their way home. Twice daily hook-ups were held by the Field Delivery leadership team including Brisbane team managers to ensure all field crews were safe and to also provide our Human Resources manager with regular updates on team members and their families. Further meetings were also held across Service Delivery’s Field Enablement & Infrastructure (FE&I) team to maximise resources across the group to handle workloads and customer inquiries. In addition to business as usual activities, our FE&I colleagues across the country stepped up straight110
  • 112. CONTENTSDEDICATION... DEDICATION...Interview with Peter Spence, Service DeliveryDate: 13-15/01/11When field technician David Tweed got the call to ABOVEhelp repair a pillar in Rockhampton that had beenwashed away in the floods, he didn’t hesitate. AND BEYONDDespite the fact his house had been cut off fromRockhampton for several weeks, he organised for IN ROCKYneighbours and friends to look after his three daughtersand wife and boarded an SES boat to take him to work.Together with Barry Fletcher and Wally VanPeperstraten, David spent three days repairing thepillar that serviced 215 customers including the DistrictSupport Unit Army Base and the Central QueenslandRescue Helicopter Base.“All of our technicians have been working aroundthe clock for weeks now. David’s dedication andwillingness to help is a good example of the attitudewithin our team.“When I asked if he could help repair the pillar to getthe emergency services working, he simply said, ‘Noworries, we need to get this mess cleaned up’.“He put his personal worries in the background andgot to work to help others,” said Peter.Above: David Tweed at work.Opposite: Photo taken by mobile phone from 275 George Street of the swelling Brisbane River. 111
  • 113. CONTENTS RESPONSIVE... RESPONSIVE... “Within hours of being able to enter the site, Network Construction team members had the required link operating and the customer connected.” As told by Neil Francis, Networks and Access CAPACITY Technologies Date: 11/01/11 REQUEST MET On Tuesday afternoon 11 January, the Planning team received a request from Telstra Wholesale Within hours of being able to enter the site, Network Construction team members had the required link IN DIFFICULT to look for transmission capacity between Brisbane and Sydney, as one of their Wholesale operating and the customer connected. All this occurred while a number of key Telstra people involved CIRCUMSTANCES customers had lost some of their capacity due to the floods west of Brisbane. were working remotely due to the Brisbane office being closed. The timing of this request was a challenge, as the Throughout these three days, Networks and Access Brisbane office was in the process of closing in Technologies’ Wideband & Intercapital Planning team preparation of the expected flood peak that night in worked together to ensure Network Construction the Brisbane CBD. had clear instructions on the infrastructure to use and the required work, and Telstra Wholesale were kept Networks and Access Technologies Wideband informed of progress and issues arising due to the Planning requested Intercapital Planning in Sydney to environment our people were working in. look at the request and provide advice by the following morning. Telstra Wholesale’s Ram Dubey recognised the effort put in by those involved from Wideband Capacity was investigated on a number of routes. Planning, Intercapital Transport Planning and Network However the preferred route could not be actioned Construction. This included David Field and Tony due to the flood crisis in Brisbane putting Charlotte Delisser from Planning, and Rod Butcher and Max Street Exchange in a red zone, with the team unable Hicks and their teams from Network Construction. to enter the site. On Friday morning the Charlotte Street Exchange Service Area became an amber zone, and the team could commence work. This was despite the fact this part of the Brisbane CBD was still without power, and Charlotte Street Exchange was operating on emergency power, so no lifts etc., were operational.112
  • 114. CONTENTSAbove Left: Albert Street, Brisbane, 13/01/11.Above Right: Kangaroo Point payphone, 13/01/11. 113
  • 115. CONTENTS COMMUNITY SPIRIT... “We spent the day preparing as best we could, raising everything up inside the house and then helping our neighbours.” By Susan Kuppens, Network Application & Services WHEN Date: 11/01/11 such good care of us, especially our boys who they YOUR ROAD On Tuesday 11 January 2011 we had our first beautiful warm sunny day after what felt like kept well entertained. It was a very long night left weeks and weeks of continuous rain. For this wondering what was happening back home. BECOMES reason it felt surreal to find out there was a At 7:30am the next morning we decided to see if we huge amount of water heading our way and our A BOAT could make it home and see what had happened. area was going to be affected. The water had receded enough for us to turn into our street, and we were so grateful to find our home RAMP We live approximately 14 kilometres from Brisbane city and only 300 metres from the Brisbane River had been spared, however those on the opposite and looking at the flood prediction maps it was side of our street weren’t so lucky. going to be a close call on whether our home would We were very fortunate, as we live on the high side be saved from flooding. of the street. Those opposite us slope down and We spent the day preparing as best we could, back on to a little creek that runs off the river and raising everything up inside the house and then every home had some level of flooding with most helping our neighbours. There was an amazing being flooded up to the middle of their second story. sense of community and mateship in our street, with The next few weeks were spent with hundreds everyone helping whoever they could. People you of people coming into our area to help out those had never talked to before became friends. affected by the flood, doing everything from tearing At 5:00am the next day I received a call from a family down the internal walls and gutting houses to who live only 700 metres away, to find out they had cleaning the mud off anything and everything in sight been cut-off by floodwater and it was rising fast. that could be salvaged. Walking down the end of my street I was surprised at Lovely people also brought around cooked meals the amount of water that had flooded into our area. to those affected and those without power. It was There were already ‘good Samaritans’ out there with so amazing to see everyone pitching in to help and their dinghies ferrying people back and forth across working together. It really goes to show what a the floodwater helping to get people out. strong Aussie culture of mateship we still have. By 11.30am our power was cut off and we were It took nine days for our power to be restored, which evacuated. We only just made it out by driving up on made living hard. There were shortages of ice, milk, the verge through a foot of water. bread, water and petrol. It’s amazing what you take We spent the night at a little Anglican church in for granted. However, compared to what a lot of our area that had been set up as an evacuation other people were going through at the time, we shelter. Everyone there was so wonderful and took were so very lucky and grateful.114
  • 116. CONTENTSAbove: ‘Good Samaritans’ were out there... ferrying people back and forth across the floodwater helping to get people out. 115
  • 117. CONTENTS COMMUNITY SPIRIT... “No names or sob stories, just good old hands-on help and that was something you just don’t hear about.” By Shanne Wright, Service Delivery Within this street was the St Lucia nursing home Aveo Date: 12/01/11 and it was clear there was a lot of work to be done but COMMUNITY Seven interstate technicians (four from Sydney not enough hands. So Peter Shipley, Todd Janus and I went to assist and see how we could help. COMES and three from South Australia), who were assisting with Telstra’s flood restoration efforts Water was rising fast and we were emptying units of in Queensland, found themselves stranded in personal belongings to the next level or into garage TOGETHER the small community of Taringa for several days space on higher ground. mid-January. Peter and Todd were able to save a couple of cars While they continued repairing faults and residents were unable to get to, driving them to safe, preparing the network for more flooding, they dry land. also spent time helping out in the community. Unfortunately some homes were lost within the nursing The team sandbagged houses, moved cars from home that day and the entire bottom level went under floodwaters and spent an entire day helping water, but I believe a lot of spirits were lifted as the evacuate the local retirement village. community came together and helped each other in Sydney-based technician Shanne Wright tells this time of need. their story. One elderly gentleman told me a guy turned up at his We woke to find we were in a red zone (Indooroopilly) house with a trailer, walked in and said, “You have to and were unable to go out and work. We were advised go”. He helped the homeowner load all his personal by our team manager he would be in touch and to possessions into the trailer, drove him to a friend’s stay out of danger. house, unloaded and went back to help someone else. We couldn’t see any water or any kind of damage from No names or sob stories, just good old hands-on help where we were staying so we hopped into our vans and that was something you just don’t hear about. and drove down the road and what we saw words You just do what you can. Everyone in the community could not explain. is chipping in to help. As the roads reopened, people We turned into a street where there was a still lake who had been evacuated started to return to help with where homes used to be and we could see car roofs the recovery.’ just sticking out of the water and street signs at water My friends and family asked, “What was it like being level. A lot of people couldn’t believe what they were in Queensland during the floods?” and I can honestly witnessing. say it’s something I will never forget. Yes, we saw it We continued into the next street where we came on the TV news or heard about it on the radio, but to across a lot of people running around trying to move be there and experience it firsthand and to smell that things to higher ground. They were sandbagging their stagnant water is something words cannot describe.116 homes, garages and anywhere the water might get in.
  • 118. CONTENTSTop Left: “We turned into a street where there was a still lake.”Top Right: Shanne Wright helps residents sandbag in Taringa and Peter Shipley at the retirement village where the team were assisting by sandbagging and moving mechanical beds and other items. 117Bottom Left: Flooding in the area was shocking. Bottom Right: Todd Janus and Peter Shipley talk to a resident in Taringa.
  • 119. CONTENTS TAKING OWNERSHIP... “It is at times like these our people’s behaviour really tells a great story.” By Peter Leonard, Networks and Access Technologies THE KHOLO/ Date: 13/01/11 The report came from Peter Leonard, who MT CROSBY Before going up to the roadside cabinet, we canvassed works in Networks and Access Technologies, all the locals within our estate to try and get hold of a as follows: “Just to let you know we have two portable generator, but at that time generators were at ‘BREAK AND damaged locks, one on the RIM cabinet (a roadside cabinet) and one on the door of the a premium. This was the second day without power and it is likely we wouldn’t get power back for some ENTER’ jumbo hut at Mount Crosby. The barrels within the locks will have to be replaced on both. The locks on time, so understandably no one really wanted to give one up. As it turned out we were without power for INCIDENT the doors of the trailerable genset located at Mount Crosby Exchange have also been damaged so these six days. But one local fellow said he had a bank of old batteries we could use which were in reasonable will need replacing as well.” condition. What would you think of someone who breaks into So we grabbed the batteries, took them up to the Telstra Infrastructure by smashing locks? Below Peter roadside cabinet strung them together and attached explains why he did it. a pair of car jumper leads and tried to get the RIM I live at Kholo near Lake Manchester and during the going, but it didn’t fire up. So we got on to the Global floods our phones went down. This was on Wednesday Operations Centre and found out the Mt Crosby 13 January. Exchange was down as well. No amount of work was going to get the RIM going while the parent exchange I had a fair idea the batteries in our local RIM (roadside was down. So I thought, “Okay let’s go to Mt Crosby”. cabinet) were flat, so thought about getting a generator and going to the cabinet and getting it going again. At Mt Crosby Exchange there is a newer brick building and an older jumbo hut located side-by-side. The I tried to get hold of the keys to unlock the cabinet by jumbo hut had an access swipe card reader on it, but ringing a number of people, but unfortunately the key no power meant no access – so we got the trusty tools holders were all on the other side of the river. I got hold out again and drilled out the lock and gained access of the Regional Service Director for Service Delivery to the hut where we found the key to get into the brick Northern, John Parkin, and said, “I can drill out the building. lock if you like” and he said, “Now wouldn’t that be a shame...” Then we had to get to the generator – which is a covered trailer type generator (genset) situated It was on Thursday 14 January Keiron Smith (a local between the brick building and the jumbo hut which plumber who lives in our estate) and I got in his work was also locked up securely. Well, we could not find truck along with a battery drill and all the other things the key for the genset, so got the Stillsons out of we needed and off we went. Keiron’s truck and broke its locks.118
  • 120. CONTENTSWe then pulled the cable out of the genset, connected About midnight it had reached 47.5 volts and so we The following day we liaised with the Police to sourceit up to the exchange and went to the mains power started turning things back on. We also got in touch some diesel fuel to keep the genset running and theswitchboard and lo and behold, there were the keys to with the Global Operations Centre and reset a few rest is history.the genset! Fairly obvious when you think about it, but things and everything came up, bar the RIM cabinet There are a number of people I would like toat the time we just wanted to get the exchange back we started with. This was to be expected as we had acknowledge who contributed in getting theon the air. left the batteries disconnected. No use draining the Mt Crosby Exchange and Kholo RIM up and running batteries when the exchange wasn’t working.At this stage it was about 5:00pm in the afternoon, all again. These are: John Parkin, Jon New, Tim Lostrohfour sets of batteries were down to about 32 volts – So we travelled back home via the RIM cabinet and others whose names I have unfortunatelya pretty desperate state. and connected it all back up to kick start it with the forgotten. There were people from Service Delivery borrowed batteries. Justin Dennis (who was working on Karalee Exchange),Not knowing the exact procedure for connecting the George Furlan from Telstra’s Global Operations Centregenerator we were again in contact with the Global I then got back home and checked the phone – and Mark Griffiths from Silcar. Thanks to all for theirOperations Centre. To do this we had to go outside NO DIAL TONE, BLAST! assistance on that eventful day.the building to get mobile coverage. We got some I thought, okay, that’s enough for today I’ll go up thereinstructions and set to work. We connected up the in the morning and see what needs to be done. “It is at times like these our people’s behaviourgenerator but, due to the extremely noisy genset really tells a great story – here Peter and his materattling away, we now couldn’t use the mobile outside. It had been a long day and I needed to have a shower, thought creatively, took ownership and simplyThis made it difficult to get further instructions without with no power to use the water pump and no hot did not give up despite a number of significantmoving a long way away from the exchange. water, the only water available was from a water tank, I obstacles. It was a marathon effort but they were stood under the tank thinking to myself what could beAnyhow, we noticed the battery voltage was going able to restore approximately 5,000 telephone wrong with the RIM.up and we got to the stage where we were about 40 services,” – Mike Wright, Executive Director,volts and that is when the air-conditioner units started Once showered and before going to bed for the night Networks and Access Technologies.cutting in and out, causing the generator to surge quite I decided to try the phone again. SUCCESS, DIALseriously, so we turned off the air-conditioners to settle TONE! I immediately rang the Global Operations Centrethings down again. and said “How’s things?” and they told me everything had come back up and was working again.We were getting pretty hungry at this stage becausewe hadn’t eaten since 10:00am. We knew Mt CrosbyState School had set up an emergency relief centre,so Keiron went down there to see if he could getsomething.He came back half-an-hour later and was in shockwhen he returned, commenting on the number ofdesperate people in the relief centre who had losteverything and said he felt very guilty about havingto ask for something when others were in such direstraits. When Keiron told them what we were doing,they were really appreciative because they neededcommunications desperately and he left with a coupleof pieces of cake and a flask of coffee.We planned to get the battery voltage to around 48volts before we turned some of the things back onagain (we had to turn a lot of things off due to the lowvoltage which caused the exchange equipment tomake some very unusual sounds).Above: Peter Leonard and Keiron Smith return to the scene of the crime at the Kholo RIM unit E9811. 119
  • 121. CONTENTS WILDLIFE... WILDLIFE... WILDLIFE... “At the time, due to the wet weather, the frogs in Childers had been breeding like mad.” By Noel Hand, Service Delivery Date: 13/01/11 FAULT FROG On Thursday 13 January, I was out assisting FINDS Alan Williams to replace a main panel back board that was causing some problems for our INFAMY customers. At the time, due to the wet weather, the frogs in Childers had been breeding like mad. One managed to squeeze into a Telstra roadside cabinet through a failed air filter and shorted out the power tracks of the main board of a Remote Integrated Multiplexer (RIM) unit. This resulted in over 160 customers not able to receive incoming calls and also took ISDN services (such as EFTPOS) offline. On 20 January, The Sydney Morning Herald ran a news article featuring our reptilian friend called, ‘Meet the frog that cut off 160 telco customers and EFTPOS’. Both Alan and the frog managed to get their mug shots in the paper.120
  • 122. CONTENTSDEDICATION... DEDICATION...Interview with John Tarlinton, NetworkApplications and ServicesDate: 11/01/11 onwards QUEENSLANDWith the number of calls to the Queenslandflood relief support line increasing, Telstra setup a dedicated contact centre in Canberra to FLOOD RELIEFprovide some much needed support. In a littleover two hours, the Telstra Enterprise & Government HOTLINE(TE&G) and Telstra Operations teams had thetechnology and people set up to take calls on behalfof the Queensland Government.Initially staffed by Telstra volunteers, the centre had22 people taking much-needed donations. Theywere also taking calls from people offering theirservices - from accommodation through to helpingout at evacuation centres and providing up-to-dateflood information via Queensland IT systems.The centre took calls from 5:00pm on 11 Januarythrough until 5:00pm on 28 January, during thistime the team answered nearly 34,000 calls. Afterthe main peak of calls were managed, the hotlineoperated from 6:00am-11:00pm every other day.According to John Tarlinton from ManagedCustomer Services, this is a true example of peopleand technology coming together to support a worthycause.“To have the capability set up and ready to go livewithin two hours is truly remarkable and would notbe possible without the support of our people.“Additionally, answering all calls would not havebeen possible without our people who volunteeredtheir time after their normal work day,” John said.Above: Steve Melton (foreground) with other co-workers who answered the call to assist.Opposite Top: Communication technician Alan Williams inspecting the RIM unit where the frog was found. Opposite Bottom: The frog that took down 160 customers 121
  • 123. CONTENTS RESPONSIVE... RESPONSIVE... “When leaving the area, I couldn’t help wondering how the town’s residents would recover from such a disaster. ” By Peter Scherer, Network Construction Date: 14/01/11 COMING TO I was among the Network Construction team Considering the surrounding damage, the exchange who attended Grantham Exchange to restore had held up remarkably well. There had been about half TERMS services soon after a wall of water tore through the small town on 10 January. The Grantham a metre of water inside the building and the batteries had to be replaced. The lower AXE* magazines were WITH Exchange, which provides services to around 550 customers, was not spared. beyond repair. There was some other AXE equipment not fully utilised, so I reconfigured them to replace GRANTHAM Soon after the site went down a Network Construction the damaged equipment, as well as using the spare boards I had with me. team attended the Grantham Exchange and began the repair work. This team was joined on site by power All the submerged connectors had to be opened and company employees, who were setting up temporary cleaned. This was the most time consuming part. generators, cleaning out the site, replacing parts and After the cleaning and reconnecting had been reconfiguring services. completed, I repowered the exchange equipment and the team began to recommission the exchange. Mobile services were restored on the first day of work, followed by phone and data services the next day. Almost everything came up working first time. A couple of tweaks and the exchange came back online. There was so much destruction in Grantham that most local services and connections were destroyed so we When leaving the area, I couldn’t help wondering how set up a phone on the outside of the exchange for the the town’s residents would recover from such a disaster. community to use. At least now they had access to communications, which is a start. Like everyone else I had seen all the news footage of the events that had taken place in Grantham and The Grantham recovery effort was led by Col Nielsen, the surrounding area. I thought I was pretty well who was based in Townsville at the time. Other team prepared for going into the town with a team to restore members and contractors involved ‘on the ground’ the exchange, but I don’t think anything could really were Keith Broom, Tim Lostroh, Nick Skett, Peter prepare you for the extent of the damage done. Williams, Greg Jesse, Allistar Collet (AllPower) and Trevor Green (AllPower). It was only being there and casting your eyes around * AXE equipment is a product line of circuit switched digital telephony 360 degrees you fully understand the forces involved equipment by Ericsson. and the amount of devastation caused. The town had been declared a crime scene and was closed to the public, so we had to get permission to enter.122
  • 124. CONTENTSLeft: Grantham Exchange just after the disaster.Right Top: Free public phone made available at Grantham Exchange. Right Middle: The town of Grantham had been declared a crime scene. 123Right Bottom: Police tape on a letter box is a grim reminder of the rescue and police work required in the region.
  • 125. CONTENTS CUSTOMER DRIVEN... “The customer was ecstatic and very appreciative. She immediately contacted her sister and advised her what had happened.” By Tym Browne, Service Delivery Date: 14/01/11 SOLUTION- Residential ORIENTED The day the floods started to recede around Chapel Hill was 14 January and this is when I I disconnected the cabling from the affected sockets to get the one good phone she had, up and running. TECH TAKES went out to assess the damage and to see where we could gain access to start putting things right. The customer was ecstatic and very appreciative. She immediately contacted her sister and advised her what CHARGE I had just pulled up in a local street blocked by floodwater when a customer, who had evacuated two had happened. Business days before, had just arrived home. She approached me and asked what the status was of the phone lines While managing flood recovery work we also came as she needed to contact her family because she lost across a lot of businesses that had been affected. her mobile in the floodwaters. Whilst on my travels to inspect the Main Distribution I advised that everything should be okay but that I Frames (MDFs) around our area I came across the would be happy to check for her. The customer was local Bellbowrie Sports Club. The club’s equipment glad of the offer as they weren’t too sure of the damage had been completely under water. and what to do. I contacted the customer and advised what we were As we entered the customer’s property I noticed a line doing. He arrived within 10 minutes, very pleased to of silt and debris had coated the brick wall surrounding see how proactive we were in getting business comms the property and doors, providing a good indication as back to normal. to how high the water had risen. He advised although it will be some time before he As we opened the doors, the floors were slippery and can open the club up, he would really appreciate the covered in brown sludge. I immediately noticed her lines back up and running so he can contact builders, phone sockets had been under water for some time members, etc. as they were corroded, green and covered in silt. After inspection and organising the repair and We went to her kitchen where she had a wall-mounted appropriate relocation of his MDF, he asked if I could phone which was not affected and checked for dial also inspect his house just up the road. He explained, tone. It was working, but very noisy. As I ran a test on “My line has been out for a week now and our house her line it failed specifications, due to all the other phone has been gutted, I have reported it but no one has sockets in the house being inundated with water. come out yet.”124
  • 126. CONTENTSWe proceeded to his premises where all hisplasterboard and cabling had been cut, ripped out orsquashed. Unfortunately all his phone sockets werealso cut out.I patched a temporary lead from his external wall tohis kitchen and supplied a phone, as their T400 waswater-logged.The customer was very appreciative and while theclub wasn’t fully operational straight away, thanks toTelstra, they could continue to keep the local membersand footballers up-to-date via weekly reports on theirinternet page.Top: Tym Browne.Bottom: Watermark on white brick wall gives a very clear indication of how high the water rose. 125
  • 127. CONTENTS RESPONSIVE... “The sites were inundated with water while the equipment was still powered up...” As told by Steve Burke, Network Construction Date: 14/01/11 WHAT Network Construction crews had been working at sites throughout Brisbane and surrounding A suburbs, cleaning and recovering damaged equipment since the floodwater receded after WEEKEND! the 14 January flood peak. The photographs here show the work the Network Construction teams put in over one weekend (22-23 January), undertaking work to restore mobile coverage following the floods which totally devastated 12 mobile base stations in the Brisbane area. The sites were inundated with water while the equipment was still powered up and operational which caused catastrophic failure of the equipment and caused significant disruption to the Next G® and GSM mobile networks for much of South Brisbane, Yeronga, Rocklea, Oxley, Chelmer and Coopers Plains. The quickest way to restore service to these sites, to enable other critical flood restoration work to commence, was to install new Next G® Ericsson RBS6000 series equipment, or install temporary base stations Cells on Wheels (CoWs). This was the first time Ericsson RBS6000 equipment had been installed anywhere in the Queensland network.126
  • 128. CONTENTSOpposite Top: (l-r) Aaron Darby, Don Aitchison, Michael Jones, Phil Mock and Mal Preston at CMHL (Chelmer) quite happy after successfully restoring mobile coverage to Chelmer. Opposite Bottom: Radio linesman Dave Noonan finishesmopping out the Rocklea site. The water reached the ceiling. Top Left: Damien Vaughan with his first RBS6000 installation at Brisbane Convention Centre. Top Right: (l-r) Technician John Short and radio linesman Aaron Darby take a wellearned break, waiting for damaged 3G850 and GSM racks to be picked up after removal from the mobiles hut at Oxley East. Bottom Left: New RBS6000 being unloaded. Bottom Right: Leading operative Merv Birt supervises unloadingof Cells on Wheels (CoW) at Yeerongpilly. This site was so devastated the only solution was a temporary CoW which was transported from Sydney. 127
  • 129. CONTENTS COMMUNITY SPIRIT... “Everyone had their belongings out on the streets and we watched cars float down the creek behind us.” By Heidi Pfeffer, Service Delivery Date: 15/01/11 A By 15 January we had finally heard from all of our family and friends affected by the floods. Some SURREAL of our friends were isolated out near Laidley for five days. Where we could, my husband and I EXPERIENCE helped out with the clean up. My uncle was rescued by canoe – a totally bizarre experience – and my folks were heavily involved in the clean up. Our friend’s house in Rocklea (pictured here), is the headquarters for Brisbane Area Rescue Network (BARN), the wildlife volunteer organisation my husband and I are associated with. We had evacuated all of the animals on the Wednesday before the full impact of the flood hit home. After the waters receded, it was clean up time again. Luckily for us, our house at Riverhills was not flooded. But the streets around us were shocking. Everyone had their belongings out on the streets and we watched cars float down the creek behind us. The creek, which is normally two metres wide, reached something like 200 metres wide at the peak of the floods. There are water tanks and rubbish bins on top of people’s houses, where they came to rest after the waters went down. It was so surreal. I’m sure everyone in Brisbane has similar experiences they could relate.128
  • 130. CONTENTSWILDLIFE... WILDLIFE... WILDLIFE... Interview with Pete Milward, Service Delivery Date: 15/01/11 Local communication technician (CT) Pete SNAKES ON Milward opened a concrete pit out in the bush west of Mackay, to find five red-bellied black snakes keeping an eye on his joint. JOINT GO VIRAL Little did Pete Milward realise, sending this image to his manager would result in the photograph going viral. After the image did the rounds via email within Telstra, it soon made its way to the media team who promptly posted the photograph on Twitter. The image reached an audience of 1.2 million people in one hour and caught the attention of international media. Pete wasn’t too fussed and reckons, “Dealing with these situations is all part of daily life for rural CTs.”Opposite Top: BARN headquarters – note the water-level mark on building’s exterior walls. Opposite Bottom: During this summer’s floods Heidi’s husband Matt offered his services, as a licensed reptile specialist relocatingany snakes, free to all flood-affected residents and businesses (including Telstra) in Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan City Council areas. 129Above Right: When everything is wet you have to share the dry spots.
  • 131. CONTENTS RESPONSIVE... RESPONSIVE... “Customers at Kenmore were very appreciative of restoration of service, particularly as in a number of cases, this was very important for their businesses.” Interviews with Michael Steele and Aaron Kong, WHO LET Network Construction Date: January 2011 onwards THE During the floods, many of our roadside cabinets were inundated and damaged beyond Within a few weeks a CMUX (another type of roadside cabinet) was installed as a permanent replacement. COWS OUT? repair by the muddy water. Three sites in Queensland were also restored with In Kenmore, West Brisbane, one key roadside temporary CoWs (Cells on Wheels) at Rocklea, Hill cabinet (RIM) was completely submerged and so End and Fairfield Gardens until full repairs could be badly damaged it needed to be replaced. made to the mobile base stations in those suburbs. A Telstra Mobile Exchange on Wheels (MEoW®) For more about our MEoW® and CoWs and the was brought in and used to restore services in the innovation which made it possible to easily replace Kenmore area. RIM units with CMUX units see the ‘Learning from experience’ section (p.176). Despite a slow drift to other modes of communication, the telephone is still a constant in an ever changing world and provides peace of mind, particularly in times of crisis. Specialist constructor Aaron Kong explains, “With the MEoW® we returned some normality and security to people’s lives when all around them was in upheaval. Customers at Kenmore were very appreciative of restoration of service, particularly as in a number of cases, this was very important for their businesses.”130
  • 132. CONTENTSTop Left: The MEoW® is the white Telstra box trailer under the tree, this mobile exchange contains technology which kept customers connected until the damaged cabinet (on back of truck) could be replaced with a new one.Top Right: Jason Vidulich and Aaron Kong organising the installation of the new unit via crane. 131Bottom Left & Right: The local bovines took a great interest in the Rocklea CoW installation (the CoW is parked by the roadside).
  • 133. CONTENTS COMMUNITY SPIRIT... “In some cases the queues were more than two kilometres long.” Interview with Paul McCarthy, Architecture, Online and Media PITCHING Date: January 2011 The Milpera State High School in Chelmer was IN The floods in Queensland have been devastating both in loss of lives and the sheer scale of inundated with mud and building damage so they destruction but one of our AOM team members decided to stay there and help as best they could. says he was overwhelmed by the generosity of Paul said he was amazed at the sheer volume of locals. destruction. “It was incredible and I’ve seen some bad Brisbane based Senior Technology Specialist, Paul things in my time.” McCarthy, who works in the video broadcasting and This is no understatement given some of the areas Foxtel area on DVN (Digital Video Network), says he Paul has witnessed before. In November 1999, an was amazed at the length of the volunteer queues, initiative was undertaken with the United Nations and people who turned out to help with the recovery effort. the Australian Government to assess some of the “Four volunteer centres were established by the damage after the Indonesian Army pulled out of East Brisbane Lord Mayor and after the first day there were Timor. more than 7,000 volunteers queuing to get on buses to Paul and a colleague from Telstra went over to be sent out to different places to help. In some cases East Timor to assist with the recovery work of their the queues were more than two kilometres long,” Paul telecommunications network. said. “It will be about four months before the high school Paul said rather than waiting and delaying the is opened again but in the meantime, students will be assistance to those affected, he and his wife Donna, re-located to neighbouring schools. The community son Jason and family friends drove to a badly-affected spirit that has shone through has been phenomenal,” area in the south-western suburbs to offer any help said Paul. they could. “Once we got to the suburb of Chelmer we walked along one of the badly affected streets and asked people who we could help,” he said.132
  • 134. CONTENTSTop Left & Right: Paul, his wife, son (orange cap) and a friend got into the thick of the clean-up at Milperra High School in the riverside suburb of Chelmer. The floodwaters reached ceiling height of the ground level of theschool and when the water receded the mud was 12 inches thick on everything. Bottom Left & Right: Piles of water-damaged household goods were stacked on footpaths. 133
  • 135. CONTENTS RECOGNITION... “Also, let’s not forget how our New Zealand colleagues had their own natural disasters to deal with...” As told by Malcolm McKellar, Service Delivery Frames (MDFs), cleaning pillars, which had been Date: 19/01/11 submerged for extended periods, and rewiring HELP FROM For many of the 29 strong New Zealand telecommunication operatives (from businesses. Our customers were appreciative of our quick and ACROSS companies such as Chorus, Service Stream and Transfield) who arrived in Brisbane from proactive response in restoring their services. Denis told me the story how they visited the Aspley THE DITCH 19 January to support our Queensland disaster recovery effort, it was their first trip to Australia. Hornets Football Club. On learning of where they were from and why they were here, the club manager Queensland summers are hot, very hot, and very immediately afforded them membership privileges. humid. The receding floodwaters had left behind Working 7:00am through to 7:00pm daily they were mud, stinking mud, and plenty of it. tireless in their commitment to get as much done in New Zealand Transfield team manager Denis Dunn the three weeks they were here (they returned home told me how the television broadcasts of flood images 11/12 February). and the effect it was having on Queenslanders Their work ethic was second to none. They never and their animals, had resulted in overwhelming complained about the hot, humid conditions or expressions of interest from the workers in New about the stinking mud. Zealand to come to Australia to help. It was a most rewarding experience for all of us As soon as they stepped off the plane, they were to have our colleagues from across the ditch here eager to commence work. Actually, I remember working side-by-side with us. hearing about one NZ operative who disembarked the plane in his wellies (rubber boots) ready for Also, let’s not forget how our New Zealand action. colleagues had their own natural disasters to deal with in relation to damage caused by the Immediately following their induction at the Brisbane Christchurch earthquake. This struck on 4 Airport Exchange, they were deployed in the flood- September and was a magnitude 7.1 earthquake affected suburbs of Rocklea, Fairfield, Sherwood, with many aftershocks continuing into 2011. Paddington and Milton. The strongest to date (magnitude 6.3) occurred on Service Delivery’s Adrian Larkin, Brian Hall, Mark 22 February 2011. Nugent, Benjamin McLoughlin, Jason Morris, Murray Telstra Operations are putting a process in place Young and Phill Clark all worked above-and-beyond where we will make contact with our New Zealand assisting our New Zealand friends and organising counterparts each month to present opportunities work for them. for both countries to offer and assist each other as This team, from across the ditch, worked alongside our the need arises. own workforce efficiently repairing Main Distribution134
  • 136. CONTENTSCARING COLLEAGUES...By Paul Montiford, Service DeliveryDate: January 2010As the floods approached, Queensland Premier I was so grateful that Tim had sent me home early, as OH GEEZ –Anna Bligh kept saying, “Now is the time to be there was just under one metre of water all through myready. Now is the time to prepare.” I kept saying“We’ll be right.” But it wasn’t until my team property, thankfully none in my house. THIS IS REAL! That night’s sleep was not an easy one as we hadmanager Tim Dunn rang me and sent me home been told that the big tide would arrive first thing in thethat I realised how unprepared I really was. morning. When we awoke I was very glad to see thatMy wife and I moved our downstairs furniture upstairs the floodwater level had not lived up to expectations.and put all my shed tools up on top of makeshift I assessed my property and saw that the only loss Ishelves. After sandbagging and taping the front and would suffer was to my chipboard workbench.back doors we then drove our car up the hill and put To lighten the mood I grabbed my long board and wentthe Telstra van up at the Bulimba exchange. down to my chook shed to see if my three old hensWatching the utes and trailers full of furnishings were okay. I grabbed Gidget and took her for a ride!evacuating the suburb was quite amazing. My She still looks at me now as if to say, “When are weneighbours simply moved out. going surfing again?”As the waters started coming up the drains in my street I am very, very grateful for the help I received fromI kept saying, “We’ll be right. It’s only stuff.” It was when Telstra, my team manager and work colleagues. Tothe power went out that I said, “Oh geez – this is real. I Tim, Jacko, Trent and all the other guys who phonedhope we don’t have to swim for it.” me with offers of support and assistance, my wife and I would like to thank you very much.That’s when Telstra came to my rescue again, (akaJeffery Jackson) called me and said, “Would you like agenerator?” Of course I said yes but my vehicles wereparked on the hills and the water was rising up thenow blocked off street. The next thing Trent Vayanosarrived with Jacko’s geny in the back of his four wheeldrive. My wife and I were so relieved. It’s amazing howisolated you feel without power and phones (my phoneonly stopped ringing when it ran out of power).We now had a gas stove, gas hot water and power fora fridge, a light at night, a radio and some internet totell everyone we were okay – hooray! (Thanks Jackoand Trent.)When the water stopped flowing up my street I wasthankful that it only came a small way up my driveway.My wife said, “I think you should have a look down theback yard.” When I went down the back to the shedOpposite: Andrew Greenstreet from Christchurch NZ helps repair a MDF at St Lucia, 25/01/11 - note the watermark on the wall. Above Top: Gidget goes surfing. Above Bottom: Paul Montiford with Gidget and Paul’s house. 135
  • 137. CONTENTS CUSTOMER DRIVEN ... “When the ‘Thunderbird’ was first set up and really needed, it was nice to hear people comment, ‘It’s great to see Telstra is a ‘can do’ company’.” By Graham Ford, Network Construction The next task was to get the BTS into the exchange Date: 20/01/11 which had limited space and it took all four of us to THUNDERBIRD Murphy’s Creek, in the Lockyer Valley, was manoeuvre it. It was like shifting a large, heavy fridge into position. devastated by what has been called an ‘inland OPERATORS tsunami’ on 10 January 2011. The BTS was then secured to the floor, connected to power and the antenna set up and wired to the ARE GO! Power was restored to the exchange using a generator on 12 January, significant damage had Digital Distribution Frame (DDF). With help from Peter Butler at the Network Integration Centre (NIC) occurred to the fixed line network and there would software was downloaded and by 1:00pm the Next be a delay in restoring services. G® base station was up and running. To ensure telephony and broadband services were I went down to the pub to check the coverage and available to the community and emergency service made a number of calls from my phone with no agencies, mobile coverage needed a boost at problems and also noticed lots of people using their Murphy’s Creek pub which had become the base of phones as well as computers with Next G® wireless operations for the small township. modems. It also worked out well for the Service Delivery guys from New South Wales, who use their So one of Network Construction’s ‘Thunderbirds’ computers with wireless modems to download jobs. (a nickname constructor operatives have given their remote mobile base station/survey trucks) was to be Since then I have been back a number of times set up as a temporary Next G® base at Murphy’s to check on the truck, which has been there now Creek to restore coverage. for more than four months. While doing so, I have received comments from locals passing by, like: On Thursday 20 January at 5:30am, Vaughan “Hope ya not taking our improved Next G® coverage Johnstone and I arrived at the exchange and away.” commenced setting up the survey truck. By about When the ‘Thunderbird’ was first set up and really 7:00am the mast was locked off with the antenna needed, it was nice to hear people comment, “It’s up 18 metres, which was enough to clear the trees great to see Telstra is a ‘can do’ company.” between the exchange and pub to enable the best coverage to the area. Telstra, in consultation with community representatives, have now agreed upon the Then John Martin and John Kilna arrived bringing provision of a permanent mobile base station in the the Next G® Base Transceiver System (BTS) which Murphy’s Creek area. One of the key community had been arranged by Ray Lane and Dave Freestun representatives involved in these negotiations is the at the Boondall depot. Australian Children’s Trust.136
  • 138. CONTENTSLeft: John Martin, Graham Ford and Vaughan Johnstone at Murphy’s Creek. Right: The ‘Thunderbird’ fully operational. 137
  • 139. CONTENTS RECOGNITION... RECOGNITION... “Greg’s technical skills along with his persistence, allowed this infrastructure to be utilised much more quickly...” As told by Michael Steele, Network Construction ROADSIDE Date: January 2011 CABINET Greg Fay, Network Construction Project Manager, was seconded to Queensland flood restoration work on his return from Christmas RESTORATION holidays. Greg was given the challenge to restore services to WORK 14 flooded roadside Remote Integrated Multiplexer (RIM) cabinets. These cabinets are basically mini- exchanges and the 14 RIMs, which were damaged, supplied thousands of phone services to our customers. Greg utilised a mixture of Telstra team members and contractors to restore these services within a very short timeframe. During Greg’s initial assessment of the flooded RIM cabinets from the Brisbane floods, he found one at Booval only had minimal damage. While Booval was without power, Greg thought this cabinet may restart if he could find 240 volts. Greg noticed a neighbour using a generator for their fridge and asked if he could plug a cord into the RIM cabinet. The neighbour obliged and Greg successfully fired it up, providing much needed communications to many customers in the area. Greg’s technical skills along with his persistence, allowed this infrastructure to be utilised much more quickly by performing tests during his initial site visit. Greg worked many hours and over several weekends to meet the challenge. In addition to this, he also provided hands-on assistance when approached by local residents to restore services to those who required them urgently.138
  • 140. CONTENTSDEDICATION... DEDICATION...“In these situations you just have toget out there and get the job done.” MACGYVER HAS NOTHING ONAs told by Phillip Stringini, Service Delivery OUR GUYSDate: February 2011 onwardsOn Friday 4 February, the day after Cyclone Next to arrive at the Ingham Exchange was NetworkYasi, the Ingham Exchange had lost mains Construction power specialist John Day who quicklypower and was existing on a very short term diagnosed the problem and with a ‘MacGyver’ likebattery back-up due to a mechanical failure of fix, bypassed the malfunctioning reed switch tothe exchange back-up generators. allow the automatic transfer of fuel to be reinstated.The diesel generator fuel transfer pump supplying Additionally, when the lack of power put the Northfuel from the bottom storage fuel tank to the top Queensland coastal link at risk, Mick Gileppa wasexchange floor storage fuel tank had failed. quick off the mark securing a number of generators and throwing them in the back of his ute to makeIf the Ingham Exchange was to fail then almost total the slow and difficult journey from Townsville tocommunications failure (fixed line, data, mobiles and the Ingham Exchange, via the cyclone and floodradio) would result for all North West Queensland damaged Bruce Highway, in order to keep thecoastal and inland regions east, west and north of cyclone-ravaged community of Ingham connected.Ingham up to and including Thursday Island andsurrounding island groups. Mick said to me, “In these situations you just have to get out there and get the job done. We work in someUpon arriving on site at approximately 7:00am on tough conditions, but we know the locals appreciateFriday morning, local communication technician (CT) what we do, so it’s all worth it.”Paul Mingon understood the gravity of the situationand securing a 2.2 litre jerry can and a jiggle syphon* These are just a couple of many great examples ofproceeded to manually transfer approximately 500 innovation, decisive action, dedication to duty andlitres of diesel fuel from the bottom tank to the top team work shown by our people during these verysupply tank of the exchange. difficult and trying times – MacGyver has nothing on our guys!At around 10:00am that morning another local CT *A jiggle syphon is the combination of a syphon pipe and a simple primingMike Smith had arrived on site to assist in the transfer pump that uses mechanical shaking action to pump enough liquid up theonly to find Paul had already transferred enough fuel pipe to reach the highest point, and thus start the syphoning engage the on site generators to safely run theexchange.Opposite Top: Technician Jason Vidulich working on a RIM replacement. Opposite Bottom: Greg Fay. Above: Satellite image of Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi approaching Queensland, 02/02/11. Source: Satellite imageoriginally processed by the Bureau of Meteorology from the geostationary GOES-9 operated by the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on behalf of the Japan Meteorological Agency. 139
  • 141. CONTENTS COMMITMENT... COMMITMENT... “After grabbing some tucker, I bunkered down in the exchange for the night.” By Wayne Watling, Service Delivery Date: 03/02/11 MY Communication Technician Wayne Watling tells us about the night he spent in Townsville NIGHT IN Exchange, when Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi battered Queensland’s east coast. TOWNSVILLE I was working up in Townsville assisting with the peak load volumes when the Army advised I needed to evacuate from my accommodation due to the EXCHANGE possibility of a storm surge. I contacted my peak load team manager Graham Facer advising him I needed to pack up my belongings and evacuate. As Townsville Exchange was a recognised cyclone- safe building, it was decided I would be sleeping there the night. After grabbing some tucker, I bunkered down in the exchange for the night. The wind was quite strong during the afternoon but was at its strongest around 1:00am. At the height of the winds the commotion outside sounded like a dozen freight trains roaring past, and this went on for about two to three hours. After my night on the floor I woke to look outside and found debris everywhere. It was still very windy and now raining. In fact, it was a very windy twelve hours either side of the worst of it. Eight days later I packed up my gear and headed for Tully. When I arrived I received some line faults for customers in Tully, but on arrival some of the houses were no longer there and some only partially there. It was like nothing I have ever seen or experienced before.140
  • 142. CONTENTSOpposite: Wayne Watling and Townsville Exchange. Above Top L-R: Taken from Townsville Telephone Exchange the afternoon before Yasi hit, Sturt Street (Townsville 02/02/11). Ross River storm surge visible due to thebase of the palm trees being under water (Townsville 03/02/11). Townsville 05/02/11. Above Middle L-R: Two photographs taken at Cardwell Marina, 08/02/11. Banana palms laid flat, on the way to Tully, 15/02/11. 141Above Bottom: Tully, 15/02/11
  • 143. CONTENTS COLLABORATION... “During this time, the pressure was incredible and many hours were worked by the teams...” As told by John (Shep) Shepherd, Network Construction and Phil Stringini, Service Delivery GROUND Date: 04-11/02/11 While personnel attendance changed over the CONTROL course of the restoration, the group photograph here shows the presence on Tuesday 8 February. This room, which we referred to as the ‘Townsville War Room’, is where the Tropical Cyclone Yasi network restoration for the Burdekin and Townsville to Cardwell zone was planned and co-ordinated between Service Delivery, Network Construction and Silcar Energy Solutions. The centre also operated as a direct briefing link to and from Rachel Cliffe, the Area General Manager Telstra Country Wide for community and media purposes. Field crews from Network Construction and Service Delivery used this facility to share and use information gathered via Telstra’s Global Operation Centre’s (GOC) technical bridge to manage operations. The technical bridge is an open teleconference bridge using the GOC’s Major Incident Management Centre resources for site advice and activities. The room commenced at 8:00am, Friday 4 February, the day after Yasi hit and closed down COB Friday 11 February, after eight continuous days of activity. During this time, the pressure was incredible and many hours were worked by the teams involved in the War Room and in the field.142
  • 144. CONTENTSCOLLABORATION...As told by Dru Dingwall, Network ConstructionDate: 04-11/02/11The Cairns War room was established with WAR ROOMa clear charter to work with our businesspartners to restore all services from Cardwell toCooktown and west to the Gulf of Carpentaria. APPROACH HITSAt all costs the core network had to be protected THE MARKalong both the coastal and inland routes. So itbecame paramount the right people with the rightskills were stationed along the routes and weretasked with restoring network in and around thesedesignated areas.The collaboration between various Telstra businessunits was tremendous and allowed us as a team togain traction very early in the recovery effort.Working with both the district and local DisasterManagement Groups, SES, Ergon Energy, AustralianDefence Force, local contractors and transportcompanies, we were able to quickly prioritise andwork together to clear access tracks or generateinnovative solutions in order to restore services.Once on site our technical teams were able to workwith the Major Incident Management team andthe Global Operations Centre personnel to beginrestoring services across all the various technologicalplatforms that exist within Telstra’s network.It really was a great team effort. I am amazed atwhat our people can, and will do, in order to keepcustomers connected.As per the Townsville War Room, the Cairns WarRoom commenced operating at 8:00am, Friday 4February, the day after Yasi hit and closed downafter eight continuous days of activity at close ofbusiness Friday 11 February.Opposite Top: (l-r) John Munro, Adam Ziemnicki, Phil Stringini, Steve Donaldson, Damian Cox, John Shepherd, Shane Bartell and Bob Gill (Silcar). Missing in this photo, but involved in the co-ordination, also were: JohnDempster, Carl Brunner, Geoff Ford, Mick Young and Ron Rapson. Opposite Bottom: Phil Stringini and John Dempster in the War Room. Above: (l-r) Tony Broadway, Lyn Fuller, Dru Dingwall, Brian Crane and Gary Turner. 143
  • 145. CONTENTS BUILT TO TAKE IT... “After the storm had cleared an inspection of the site revealed the exchange had only just been pushed off its stumps.” As told by John (Demo) Dempster, Network Construction UGLY BUT Date: 04/02/11 onwards Expecting the worst our technicians were INTERESTING – often surprised by how well our hardy, little exchange buildings stood up to tsunami-style ABOUT OUR flash flooding and the severest of cyclonic conditions. EXCHANGES They may not be the nicest looking structure in town, but they are designed by Telstra engineers to do the job. Consider the Feluga Exchange (located 10 kilometres north of Tully) which was situated in a location exposed to Cyclone Yasi’s wind gusts in excess of 200 kilometres per hour for some hours. After the storm had cleared, an inspection of the site revealed the exchange had only just been pushed off its stumps and this was predominantly due to the wet soil conditions which permitted concrete stumps to shift. The half inch hold down bolts, which affix the hut to the concrete stumps, prevented the hut from complete dislodgement and inevitably being turned onto its side. A well-seasoned contracted builder from Mackay was able to lift the hut back to its original position, re-concrete the original stumping and fasten the original steps without any damage to the copper and fibre cabling or the communication equipment. The hold down bolts were replaced. See the next few pages for exchange images and where to find more exchange stories.144
  • 146. CONTENTSOpposite: Hooked up ready for lift. Top Left: Knocked off stumps. Top Right: Lifted so stumps can be reinstated.Bottom Left: Stump work completed. Bottom Right: Feluga, back up again and sitting pretty. 145
  • 147. CONTENTS Top L-R: Dean Currey, Jason Wade and John Parkin next to generator outside of Grantham Exchange, Lockyer Valley (see related story, ‘Coming to terms with Grantham’ p.122). Murphy’s Creek, Lockyer Valley146 (see related story, ‘Thunderbird operators are go!’ p.136). Peter Scherer at Redgate Exchange (near Murgon). Tully Exchange – technician Ross Auger installing new cards. El Arish Exchange had the paint stripped off it, but was still in basically good working order.
  • 148. CONTENTSBottom L-R: Army helps out at Cardwell Exchange. A Cardwell hill top exchange (see related story, ‘Bill the builder comes to the rescue’ p.148). Damage to Dunk Island telecommunications equipment building/exchange – at thetime, rigger Peter Ridge headed over to Dunk Island to check out the damage and restore what he could. Last two shots are of Kennedy Exchange, north of Cardwell, where Quinn Andrews worked with Silcar to restore power 147and restart the exchange.
  • 149. CONTENTS TAKING OWNERSHIP... “Because of the amount of debris across the track we enlisted the help of Emergency Management Queensland to get the track cleared.” By Ross Auger, Network Construction Date: 08/02/11 BILL THE Ross Auger is the transmission specialist who The best they could offer was a flat bed truck with no was assigned the task of getting generators to means of lifting the genset, and the truck wouldn’t BUILDER COMES exchange and mobiles sites in the Tully area after Cyclone Yasi for power restoration. get up there anyway. The Army had nothing suitable either. TO THE RESCUE We had twelve gensets delivered to Tully so they We explored the option of getting it in by helicopter could be distributed to assist priority sites. but issues with the guyed wires from the tower would hamper close access to the hut. It became apparent we had problems at a mobiles site situated high on hill in Cardwell. I had a 40kVA Through the course of all this I remembered a builder genset put aside for this site but, unfortunately, in Cairns that lives in my suburb of Redlynch who because of the terrain we were unable to access had a Manatu, a fantastic 4x4 forklift that is self- the site. levelling and will almost climb the side of a house. I rang Bill Moody to see if he was busy and if it would Because of the amount of debris across the track be possible to get his machine to Tully to do this job we enlisted the help of Emergency Management for us at the Cardwell hill site and the Cowley Beach Queensland (EMQ) to get the track cleared. They mobiles site. asked the Army to assist with clearing the road. In Bill’s laconic style he said, “I’ll see if I can get a I got word the Army were there and they had a dozer. low-loader and ring you back.” Within an hour Bill Great, they can pick up the genset in the bucket of was on the road from Cairns. In the meantime, I got the dozer and carry it up. Then I found out it wasn’t a our own contract truck driver Mike Marino who had dozer but a Bobcat – too small to lift the geny. been working tirelessly delivering gensets all over I got back on to EMQ requesting a 4x4 truck with a the north for us, to deliver the genys to the bottom of hiab (a small crane set up on the back of a truck) to the hill in preparation for Bill to transport up the hill. lift the geny on and off.148
  • 150. CONTENTSI met Bill and the truck in Tully and took him to thesite where he slipped into action and delivered thegeny to the top of the hill. We then packed up andheaded back to Cowley Beach to deliver that one.From the time I rang Bill to getting the geny on thehill working was about five hours.By 7:00pm we had mobile coverage back up andon the air.So Bill provided his labour, his machine, a low loaderand did a round trip of about 500 kilometres.I was so focused on getting the job done I haveto admit I forgot to ask Bill what the actual bill forthe work would be. Now many people would takeadvantage of this small oversight, but not Bill, hewas content to simply cover costs.I guess it’s true when you really are in a tight spotpeople will just help.Top: Ross Auger organising the genset relocation.Middle & Bottom: Army engineers cleared the path for a 4WD forklift to carry the all important generator to the top of the hill. Bill uses his 4x4 forklift to put the generator in place. 149
  • 151. CONTENTS RESPONSIVE... “All the dishes on this Cardwell tower had stayed the course, except one...” Interview with Chris (Frosty) Frost, Network Construction VIEW Date: 08/02/11 On Tuesday 8 February, when restoring mobiles FROM coverage to the Cardwell area it was found all the dishes on this Cardwell tower had stayed CARDWELL the course, except one which was pushed around by the Category 5 winds. This dish’s TOWER realignment by Cyclone Yasi did not impact services as luckily it was the only redundant dish on the tower. The team moved quickly to initially secure the dish and then remove it completely from the tower. Frosty reckons the real story here is the image taken from the tower. “The trees below had been stripped and it looked like a bushfire had devastated the area,” Chris said.150
  • 152. CONTENTSKEEPING A GOOD SENSE OFHUMOUR DURINGTOUGH TIMES BAM AND IT’S GONE!As told by Mick Young, Network ConstructionDate: 08/02/11Abergowrie is a township inland from Cardwelland Ingham, North Queensland which founditself in the eye of Cyclone Yasi.Mick Barnett, Network Construction, installeda generator there which ensured the telephoneexchange kept running.While on site, this image brought out the lighter sideof the situation for Mick, so he snapped it and sentit on to me.“This is the cleanest I have ever seen the toilet atAbergowrie,” he reckons.Classic, understated, field operative humour, it helpskeeps our guys sane when times are tough.Opposite Top: Solid dish at Cardwell repanned by Cyclone Yasi and now facing the hill. Opposite Middle: Trees stripped bare as far as the eye can see.Opposite Bottom: The force involved is evident by the damage caused. 151Above: The new open air restroom facilities at Abergowrie Exchange – refurbishment courtesy of Cyclone Yasi.
  • 153. CONTENTS CARING COLLEAGUES... “I’ve met a lot of incredible people in my 17 years at Telstra - Rick Andrews is definitely one of them.” Interview with Joanne Flood, Information Technology RICK Date: 09/02/11 Living in a high area, Joanne Flood knew her “Once he collected the girls he took them to his TO THE house would survive the Queensland floods, so she was more worried about her daughters home and kept them safe with his family for the next week. That night we lost power and our phones went RESCUE who lived in the lower lying areas of Norman Park and St Lucia. down. We were cut off from the world but thanks to Rick we knew our girls were safe. “On Tuesday I was trying to organise my daughters “Both my daughters’ houses ended up flooding and to come home. We thought it would just be a matter without the astonishing act of friendship shown by of timing the trip to coincide with a low tide and Rick, I would have been frantic with worry about my they’d be able to get through safely,” said Joanne. daughters being stuck there on their own. “We hadn’t planned on the twin events of the Lockyer “I’ve met a lot of incredible people in my 17 years Valley catastrophe impacting the Bremer River at Telstra - Rick Andrews is definitely one of them,” downstream and overnight rainfall dumping over said Joanne. 100 millimetres of rain into the Wivenhoe catchment impacting the Brisbane River. By 11:00am we were completely isolated.” Joanne was running her daughters through evacuation preparation over the phone when her colleague Rick Andrews sent her a text asking if her family was okay. “I told him I was worried about my daughters. He immediately called and offered to take them in. He got their addresses and went to pick them up on Wednesday morning. “On a normal day the trip would have taken about 45 minutes but Rick spent hours finding alternate roads around floodwaters to get to my daughters. The normal route was impossible so with the help of his GPS he found a very obscure way to get there.152
  • 154. CONTENTSCOLLABORATION...“The sense of direction and dedication wasfantastic, with everyone from government, MARK GETSPolice, infrastructure suppliers, etc.” UP CLOSE AND PERSONALInterview with Mark O’Connell,Service DeliveryDate: 05/02/11 – 11/02/11Working with emergency services is nothing newfor Telstra, but working directly at Queensland’sEmergency Management headquarters is.In the aftermath of Cyclone Yasi, Service Delivery’sMark O’Connell was based at EmergencyManagement Queensland’s State DisasterCo-ordination Centre, working with key organisationson the Cyclone Yasi recovery effort.Mark’s secondment, which was aimed at improvingcommunications and relationships with majorstakeholders and agencies (including Ergon, SilcarEnergy Solutions, the Australian Defence Forceand Queensland Police Service), proved mutuallybeneficial.“The sense of direction and dedication wasfantastic, with everyone from government, Police,infrastructure suppliers, etc., all pulling together toassist one another.“We all did whatever we could to bring normality backas fast as possible to the communities and peoplewho were suffering so much in the north. There wasnever a dull moment while I was at the Co-ordinationCentre and at the end of each day I went home withthe feeling I’d made a real difference,” said Mark.Above: Mark O’Connell at EMQ’s State Disaster Co-ordination Centre 153
  • 155. CONTENTS GETTING ON WITH THE JOB... “With no power on the island, most of this work was completed by torchlight.” Interview with Clint Dickson, Networks and Access Technologies SATCOW Date: 14/02/11 When it became apparent the small tropical The permanent radio link to the island was restored FLIES TO island community of Palm Island had lost all its communications systems due to the effects of several days later, which meant the services of the SatCoW were no longer required. PALM ISLAND Cyclone Yasi in February and was completely isolated from the mainland, the real challenge For Clint and the SatCoW’s return journey, it was a more leisurely three-hour boat ride to the mainland was how to get a SatCoW (Satellite Cell on harbour town of Lucinda followed by a car trip to Wheels)* installed there as quickly as possible. Townsville, where the equipment stayed until we That is when Networks and Access Technologies’ were confident it was no longer required in the area. technical specialist Clint Dickson came to the rescue. Then it was flown back home to Sydney. After a regular 767 flight from Sydney to Cairns, Clint For some it would have felt like being in an episode and the SatCoW flew on a chartered light aircraft to of ‘The Amazing Race’, but Clint took it all in his Palm Island, where they then hitched a ride with the stride. local Police to the island’s telephone exchange. The deployment was a team effort with Stuart Despite already travelling 3,000 kilometres that day Wilson, Networks and Access Technologies senior and with the sun close to setting, Clint worked into technology specialist, playing a key role managing the night to complete the set up and commissioning the logistics and operations behind the scenes. of the SatCoW. Stuart Wilson actually created the SatCoW and now With no power on the island, most of this work was leads the emergency deployment of the facilities completed by torchlight. across the country, having personally deployed them in all states and territories. This is what a SatCoW is all about – modular, transportable by vehicle, boat or aircraft, self- Once the appropriate Wireless Mobile Coverage contained with its own generator, fast to install, Delivery (MCD) engineering team decides a SatCoW requiring only one trained technician and an is the right solution, Stuart co-ordinates the logistics assistant to deploy. However, in this case, Clint’s associated with deploying the equipment to get it only assistance on the island was the local Police, installed and operational in the quickest possible time. who provided transport, fuel and security. *For more details about SatCoWs see the ‘Learning from experience’ section (p.176).154
  • 156. CONTENTSTop Left: Clint Dickson on Palm Island. Top Right: Packing gear in Cairns.Bottom Left: Satellite dish and mobile base station set up. Bottom Right: Stuart Wilson at a demo-deployment of the SatCoW for emergency service organisations (Blackwood River, Balingup, WA). 155
  • 157. CONTENTS RECOGNITION... RECOGNITION... “As for the Townsville team, they were back in the centre the minute it re-opened.” As told by Stephen Bowen, Service Delivery Date: Early February 2011 WHIPPING UP It took a Category 5 cyclone to close the Townsville Contact Centre for the first time. SUPPORT As staff bunkered down at home, the customer calls did not stop. The centre’s team manages customers calling for assurance support, including their PSTN (fixed line), BigPond®, ADSL, T-Box®, T-Hub® and mobile services and products, so the centre’s closure had the potential to cause some issues. With the exception of some delays, the support of our people in Perth and our industry partners enabled us to manage the flow of calls and our customers’ expectations really well. Our consultants in Perth did a great job ‘stepping up’, and in some cases becoming instant experts in areas they normally don’t manage day-to-day. I could not have been prouder of our collective team and the way they rallied to support our customers and their peers in Townsville. As for the Townsville team, they were back in the centre the minute it re-opened. This was inspiring and really demonstrated their commitment to our customers and business.156
  • 158. CONTENTSRECOGNITION... RECOGNITION...As told by Mark Pettiford, Network ConstructionDate: February 2011 onwardsIn the lead up to Cyclone Yasi, the Queensland Those who assisted in keeping the home fires burning STEPPINGRegional Emergency Council led by John Parkin, for Network Construction (by supporting the disastermet to form teams and war rooms in both Cairnsand Townsville. recovery team while keeping delivery schedules up for our customers) included Peter Cause, Jeff Scammells UP and Dave Kenna.The Cairns team was led by Dru Dingwall andTownsville by John Shepherd and Service Delivery’sPhil Stringini and the Network Construction componentof the Brisbane flood recovery effort was led byMichael Steele.These two teams, along with Silcar, restored servicesto over 80,000 PSTN (fixed service) lines and over 120 1 2 3mobile base stations in a seven day period.Watching their results from 2,000 kilometres away inBrisbane made all within the Queensland RegionalEmergency Council team very proud.One outstanding feature during this time was theperformance of our ‘top talent’ team members whostepped up to fill the shoes of those who were heavilyinvolved in leading the restoration work. 4 5 6 7Above: 1. Dru Dingwall, 2. John (Shep) Shepherd, 3. Phillip Stringini, 4. Michael Steele, 5. Peter Cause, 6. Jeff Scammells, 7. Dave Kenna.Opposite: Perth team members Hazel Clinch and Megan Richardson. 157
  • 159. CONTENTSA 500 kilogram Brahman bull lying on our cable was just one problem the Broome crew faced.See related story, ‘The Kimberley cougar strikes again’ (p.172).
  • 161. CONTENTS RESPONSIVE... RESPONSIVE... “It was a team effort with some significant sacrifices made to achieve this quick turnaround.” Interview with Peter Andreopoulos, Network Construction THE Date: 10/12/10 Following flooding rains in South Australia, STOCKPORT which inundated the small, mid-north town of Stockport, Telstra Operations team members COW were engaged to deploy and commission a Cell on Wheels (CoW) in the area. The purpose of the CoW deployment was to increase mobiles capacity to the Stockwell flood area, thus keeping emergency services connected and enabling residents to get back on their feet. Peter Andreopoulos managed the Stockport CoW deployment. “It was a team effort with some significant sacrifices made to achieve this quick turnaround. Many individuals put their leave and personal plans on hold to not only do the right thing by the company but to help a community in crisis. Having people of this calibre, and with this commitment, certainly makes our job easier. “By midday Saturday, the CoW had been configured, all transmission designs completed and connected with a portable DC generator set on site. The service was completed within 22 hours*. “A great outcome for all, considering the busy * At the time of deployment Peter’s team held the record for quickest Christmas period was just around the corner,” said CoW deployment nationally. To read how a Victorian crew went on to Peter. beat the Stockport CoW record by just one hour – see related story, ‘The fastest CoW in the country’ (p.80).160
  • 162. CONTENTSDEDICATION... DEDICATION...As told by Alan Brown, Service DeliveryDate: 17/12/10Friday 17 December started like any other The convoy of ground crew arrived on 28 December 100-YEARday with rain forecast. By the end of the day using road bypasses at washouts.the rain hadn’t stopped and it continued on.It was clear Carnarvon faced a natural disaster – Our ground crews worked 12 to 14 hour days, FLOODS seven days a week, from the end of December 2010what would become the worst flooding in 100 years. to mid-January 2011, and had Carnarvon commsLocal technicians Wayne Smith and Neil Tilbee (land line, radio and fibre services) back to normalcould only reach essential plant by helicopter, quickly.unable to reach much of our plant and isolated radio The Carnarvon recovery crew were: Neil Tilbee (oncustomers by road, due to road washouts. station), Wayne Smith (on station), Neville CollinsThe gravity of the situation was soon realised and (first in fly), Ground crew: Dale Richards (I&M), Mikeback up was quickly mobilised via air, with Glen Jones (I&M), Brett Jones (I&M), Alan Brown (I&M),Murdoch liaising, planning and mobilising crews and Ray McDonnell (C&M), Roger Williams (C&M),equipment. Graham Johnson (C&M), Matthew Totterdell (Fibre) and Peter Stone (Fibre).A convoy of fibre crews, Install & Maintenance(I&M) jointers and Construct & Maintenance (C&M) The Exmouth and Manilya recovery crew were:jointers, made their way north from Bunbury in the Denis Cochrane and Evan Larter.south and Perth and Geraldton in the mid-west.Opposite: Cell on Wheels (CoW) set up at Stockport.Above Left: Photograph taken by technician Neil Tilbee as he was transporting replacement exchange equipment via helicopter to sites around Carnarvon inaccessible by road. 161Above Right: A Carnarvon RIM roadside cabinet high and dry thanks to a raised earth platform. For more information on raised earth platforms see under the ‘Learning from experience’ section (p176).
  • 163. CONTENTS Above Left: A boat capsized in a banana plantation just out of Carnarvon. Above Right: Stuck at Carnarvon North (not our trailer).162 Bottom Left: Outside the BP service station in Carnarvon. Bottom Right: Some things blossomed with the extra rain.
  • 164. CONTENTSAbove: And some things came out of hiding (that’s a snake slithering under the car).Bottom: North Carnarvon Exchange just high enough to beat the waters. 163
  • 165. CONTENTS DEDICATION... DEDICATION... “Come Tuesday, things were getting rather desperate and a decision needed to be made as to what action would be taken.” As told by Tim Leahy, Service Delivery Date: 24/12/10 WHAT DID On Christmas Eve, Bruce Kellaway received They attempted to contact the Katherine helicopter a phone call from the Service Centre saying pilot but he was out of mobile range on Christmas YOU DO OVER a fault had come in for the Darwin-Katherine back up fibre. Bruce asked for further information Day repairing fences due to the heavy rainfall in the area. CHRISTMAS regarding where the fault was located and started to make phone calls to the guys to accompany him on The guys returned to Darwin to organise a helicopter. The next morning a helicopter was organised to 2010? a 290 kilometre trip to the Claravale fibre repeater station on Christmas Day. meet the techs at Claravale repeater hut on Saturday morning to assess the damage. Phil Langdon spent his Christmas Eve at Manbulloo repeater hut giving us a location and some valuable Bruce and the pilot spent one-and-a-half hours information. According to Phil, the break was some following the fibre route to find the river crossing 10 kilometres north of the Claravale fibre repeater. where they believed the washout had caused the problem. Christmas morning, the crew in Alice Springs and Darwin were called out to patch services. The next problem was two marker posts were missing, presumed washed away down the river. Also on Christmas morning, both Ludo Hunter and Without knowing the exact location the fibre was Bruce Kellaway spent a precious few hours with their leaving the river on the south side, a repair was wives and children before departing for the depot to load up supplies and head off to the Claravale looking more difficult. repeater hut. At the time we hoped the break would Time for Plan C, can we walk a machine in from be close enough to the hut, and on the north side of Florina Station on the south side to dig up the fibre, the first creek, so we would have 4X4 access. or can we lift in a machine? Two possibilities and a The first river crossing, Copperfield Creek, was heap more phone calls to organise. The oil rigs have flowing fast but not too deep and the guys crossed heavy lift helicopters, up to three tonne, but they are safely. They were not to know this crossing would on consignment to the rigs, and there was no lift claim a vehicle two weeks later with three men hook in Darwin. The latter would take up to three swimming to safety. days to organise. We could get a helicopter from Mackay in 36 hours which could lift 1.8 tonnes. The On arrival at Claravale fibre hut the guys tested the weight of the machine was 1.6 tonnes, so there was fibre and a few spares. The whole cable had broken an option. and the fibre break was approximately 15 kilometres from the hut. They knew, due to local knowledge of On Monday we organised for Bruce and Terry Davis the area, this meant they would need a helicopter to from Service Stream to do a fly over to look for a access the area. route to walk a machine in from Florina Station.164
  • 166. CONTENTSThis was aborted when the helicopter had a faultypart and was grounded for the day waiting for aspare part to be flown in overnight.We also had issues with the fibre from Manbulloo toKatherine so we sent Anton Braam and Ludo Hunterto test the fibre there. Again there was a small issuewith access to Manbulloo, so the guys patchedaround the faulty fibre.Come Tuesday, things were getting rather desperateand a decision needed to be made as to what actionwould be taken. The helicopter was ready and Bruceflew over the Fergusson River to see the river haddropped dramatically and he could see the brokencable on the south side lying on the bank.On Wednesday morning five guys (Bruce Kellaway,Ludo Hunter, Anton Braam, Jesse Heinrich andByron Griffiths) were on the road at 6:00am to bein Katherine at 9:00am. They then drove to FlorinaStation to meet the helicopter and flew to the siteto start manual digging on the north site and repairthe cable.We figure that approach should be okay as we havea marker post where the cable is – 1 metre away and1.1 metre deep. Yeah right! Four metres of digginglater and 1.5 metres deep appears the cable, this isnow Thursday morning, and it is hot, humid and veryfly-friendly.Next we load up the helicopter with a 44 gallon drumof AV gas in a sling and tie the stainless steel wireto the fibre and fly it over the river at the end of thesling. Another hiccup happens when the cable andwire get stuck in a tree and we have a helicopterattached to the cable. So we quickly dropped thedrum and sling. After recovering the drum and sling,the second attempt was successful.Lunch time Thursday, fatigued and dirty, it is time tostart splicing, and the pilot needs to be out of thereby 5:30pm at the latest.The splicing was completed and the guys gotback to Katherine for a well earned rest. The nextday there were still issues with some patching andtesting required. Patch cords were sent from Darwinto Claravale on Saturday to get all services back onthe air.The next stage will be in the dry season when thepermanent repair will take place.Top Left: Shot taken from chopper looking over the Fergusson River when trying to locate the fibre break. Top Right: One of the many creek crossings that were required to get close to the site, so that it was only a shortchopper flight to the damage site. Middle Right: The chopper in the process of flying the stainless steel wire across the river. Bottom Left: Byron Griffiths, one of a team of five, who manually dug extremely sticky soil in hot, 165humid, fly-friendly conditions to locate and fix fibre issues. Bottom Right: The Fergusson River on Wednesday, after the water level had dropped.
  • 167. CONTENTS DEDICATION... “Alan was not the only one sleeping out and about to ensure our exchanges stayed online for customers.” As told by Mick Cooper, Service Delivery Date: 28/12/10 HOME During restoration works at Carnarvon, team manager Alan Brown slept in the office at the SWEET Carnarvon Exchange for a couple of weeks as all other accommodation had been given to HOME local residents who had been evacuated from their homes. Alan had the soothing sound of an exchange air compressor running at approximately 72db, which is equivalent to sleeping 20 metres from a highway, to help put him to sleep each night. Ahhh the serenity! Alan was not the only one sleeping out and about to ensure our exchanges stayed online for customers. A number of Network Construction and Service Delivery technicians called local exchanges ‘home’ at the peak of the flood crisis. See here photographs taken of some make-shift accommodations set up at our exchanges in and around Tully (Qld) due to Cyclone Yasi in early February. Also, see ‘My night in Townsville Exchange’ story on (p.140) to read about Wayne Watling’s experience the night Cyclone Yasi crossed the coast.166
  • 168. CONTENTSCOLLABORATION...“The police suspected an arsonist startedseven separate fires along Forrest Highway...” FIRES AT LAKE CLIFTONAs told by Peter Old, Service DeliveryDate: 10/01/11On Monday 10 January a major bushfire Darren Dell and Richard Errey installed a repeaterdeveloped in a semi-rural location in the Lake from the Mount John mobile tower as Lake Clifton’sClifton Exchange Area, Western Australia. mobile tower had been cut off due to damage to the optic fibre.The police suspected an arsonist started sevenseparate fires along Forrest Highway (the major Rob Minchin dispatched a team to repair the fibre.roadway between Perth and Bunbury). The technicians who worked on the main cable, distribution cable, lead in cables and pit and pipeThe seven small ignition points quickly spread, joined damage were as follows; Steve Spicer from thetogether and became a major bushfire with flames Mandurah team, Brett Matthews and John Moloneyup to 40 metres high. Residents had to evacuate from Perth, Steve Priddle, Dale Richards and Trevorwith only a few minutes prior notice. Wilson from the Bunbury team and Aron WheatcroftDue to the high winds and temperatures, the fire from the Busselton team. Service Stream wereburnt out of control for nearly three days. mobilised to provide cable and hauling.Trevor Hill from Telstra Country Wide attended the The fire caused five homes to be completelyinitial meeting of emergency services organisations destroyed, four homes severely damaged, manyand residents. Trevor followed this up with two sheds and outbuildings were lost, domestic andother meetings to update and take questions from native animals perished and 1,600 hectares of landresidents. He also initiated emergency plans for the was burnt. Many other homes and sheds had lessresidents, including our priority customers. severe damage.Two Telstra Emergency Communication Kits (TECKs) Additionally, homes that looked like they had beenwere provided to enable communications for the spared had wall boxes and internal cabling meltedcontrol centre that had been set up. due to radiant heat.Telstra and other authorities were given access, with Once again, in a time of need our people and ouremergency services providing a safety escort, to partners responded quickly to the crisis and mostsurvey and repair damaged plant as soon as it was residents had their services working again within apossible to do so. matter of days.Peter Blaney-Murphy, Grant Gibbings and Shaun My thanks to all who assisted throughout this ordeal.Parker worked to get the roadside cabinets (RIMsand RCMs) working.Opposite Top: Inside Carnarvon Exchange. Opposite: Other make-shift accommodations set up at our exchanges in and around Tully (Qld).Above Top: Dale Richards undertaking repairs to burnt out copper cables. Above Bottom: Damaged pit at Lake Clifton. 167
  • 169. CONTENTS GETTING ON WITH THE JOB... “Technicians from Broome spent 24 hours locating and repairing the damaged cable under adverse conditions.” As told by Mick Cooper, Service Delivery Date: 16/03/11 GREAT NORTHERN On 16 March severe flooding damaged an Due to the infamous northern wet season, the local optical fibre cable near Willare, located Broome team have gained a wealth of knowledge HIGHWAY between Broome and Derby, in the far north of Western Australia. and experience when it comes to working in harsh conditions caused by events such as floods and DISAPPEARS Significant customer impact was experienced, cyclones. including town and community isolation across the The health and safety of our people is always the Kimberley region. Technicians from Broome spent first priority and taken into consideration before 24 hours locating and repairing the damaged cable undertaking any restoration activity. under adverse conditions. Ten kilometres of cable was laid out along the highway to bypass the damaged section and splicing enabled service restoration. Three days later a further flood surge passed through the area damaging the temporary cable. Crews from Perth were flown in to assist local Broome technicians and a further five kilometres of cable was laid along the highway and spliced once the flooding had receded.168
  • 170. CONTENTSTop Left: The Great Northern Highway between Broome and Derby. Joe Ganino took this shot from a helicopter while trying to locate an alternative route to run the slave (temporary) fibre cable.Top Right: Joe Ganino walking along the Great Northern Highway ensuring the road is safe to travel along by vehicle. 169Bottom Left: Techs Craig Liddle and Peter Stone trying to secure slave (temporary) cable to the trees to prevent it floating onto the Great Northern Highway. Bottom Right: More rain - storm clouds heading towards Willare.
  • 171. CONTENTS CUSTOMER DRIVEN... “The local Telstra presence has been extraordinary to watch.” By Neil Cooke, Service Delivery Date: 16/03/11 SNAKES, Setting aside the long hours, heat, humidity, snakes, bugs and crocodiles – it really is BUGS rewarding! It’s good to be a part of something worthwhile, working with a few good blokes AND CROCS giving their absolute all for the benefit of our customers. One local resident told me, “The local Telstra presence has been extraordinary to watch. They are doing a great job and at times have undertaken tasks we marvel at. “We have watched them on numerous occasions restore this fibre optic with such urgency and professionalism, we feel guilty just watching and not helping also.”170
  • 172. CONTENTSCOMMITMENT... COMMITMENT...“It’s great to see the effort and dedicationyou guys are putting in to servicing PUBLIC SUPPORTthe Kimberley.” OUTSTANDINGBy Shane Caratti, Service DeliveryDate: 16/03/11As a communication technician and a relief teammanager I have experienced all the stress andsuccesses associated with an outage this big.I have felt proud of how it has all come together andhave discovered firsthand the meaning of team workand commitment.I feel lucky to be part of a dynamic and strong teamsuch as the Broome team and know the communityhas benefitted immensely from the way we work.This will be a great Kimberley story in years to comeand I have been proud to have been involved andwitness the dedication shown.Support from the public has been outstanding. Theunderstanding and patience our customers have inthese remote areas is absolutely remarkable.During this time, a customer said to me, “It’s great tosee the effort and dedication you guys are putting into servicing the Kimberley.”Opposite: Any piece of dry land was fiercely guarded during the floods and this guy didn’t take kindly to our technicians being in his territory. Wayne Smith took this on a road just outside of Carnarvon.Above: Technician Craig Liddle recovering the temporary cable after flooding washed it on to the Great Northern Highway. 171
  • 173. CONTENTS COMMITMENT... COMMITMENT... “Doing all you can do in these times is what we are about.” As told by Joe Ganino, Service Delivery Date: 17/03/11 THE KIMBERLEY We live and work in this community. Even in We also had some animal suspects with crocodiles a community as large as the entire Kimberley floating down the river, cockatoos flying around COUGAR means you know or have met nearly everyone. When the fibre goes down, it is all hands on deck as and there were a lot of livestock about at the time. But I have to say that my money is on the Kimberly STRIKES AGAIN no one is untouched by the loss of service and it can become dire in the wet season when communities cougar! The commitment to restoring service was become isolated. Doing all you can do in these times outstanding, not only by the local Telstra staff, is what we are about. but from their families as well that have had to do The communication technicians have demonstrated without their husbands/partners and fathers for a great personal commitment to restore service to the what was months of work maintaining this vital link Kimberley region in adverse and extreme conditions. in this region. The 14.5 kilometres of temporary fibre they initially walked out with the aid of local contractors, Service Stream, Main Roads, Broome Police and the Fire & Emergency Services Authority (FESA) has required cable trucks, 4WDs, the FESA chopper and a couple of boats on standby to restore service outages. The cable damage is still a bit of a mystery. Suggested culprits have ranged from the Kimberley cougar eating it, trees uprooting and taking out part of the temporary fibre, vehicles, washouts and fast flowing floodwaters damaging the fibre. Parts of the Kimberley experienced 1.5 metres of water for the month of February alone.172
  • 174. CONTENTS Due to the reoccurring nibbles on the cable, the culprit was christened the ‘Kimberley cougar’ by the Broome team. The legend of the ‘cougar’ is right up there with the Loch Ness Monster, Nullarbor Nymph and the Abominable Snowman.Top Right: This damage to the slave (temporary) cable is still a mystery.Bottom Left: A 500 kilogram Brahman bull lying on their cable was just one challenge the Broome team faced. Bottom Right: Broome technicians Greg Gibson and Shane Caratti undertaking fibre repairs on the side of the 173Great Northern Highway near Willare. Fibre repairs are usually undertaken in a controlled environment such as a fibre van, but local Broome technicians have become accustomed to ‘open air’ repairs.
  • 175. CONTENTS GETTING ON WITH THE JOB... “Sometimes you just have to walk in water up to your neck...” By Tony Hunter, Service Delivery (communication technician/ poet) JUST Date: 17/03/11 Just keep going KEEP Sometimes you just have to walk in water up to your neck; GOING Sometimes you just have to haul 15 kilometres of fibre along the side of the road, under spotlights blazing after 20 hours straight; Trying to splice fibre with every bug and mozzie thinking you’re on a date; Just keep going... the comms are up mate!174
  • 176. CONTENTSOpposite: Shane Caratti and Greg Gibson undertaking fibre repairs near Willare (Joe Ganino centre).Top Left: Temporary fix to a tree, along the Great Northern Highway. Top Right: The road heading out to Carnarvon Airport. Bottom Left: Broome team manager Joe Ganino “I know we left the Highway out here 175somewhere”. Bottom Right: Neil Tibee’s transport to Carnarvon North to test faulty fibres.
  • 177. CONTENTSTREK recharging on a work vehicle.
  • 179. CONTENTS INNOVATIONS AND IDEAS... LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE In natural disasters an immediate requirement of provide temporary mobile, landline and broadband most emergency service groups is comms, comms services to communities impacted by natural and comms. The ability to communicate means disasters. these organisations can concentrate on doing what Other innovations include the Telstra Emergency they do best – co-ordinating efforts to care for Communications Kits (TECKs) and Telstra communities in crisis. Remote Emergency Kits (TREK), which provide Every time the Telstra team responds to a natural local emergency services rapid and reliable disaster we learn from the experience so we can do communications until normal services have been it even better the next time. restored. For example, after the Victorian Black Saturday More recent innovations include a new website, Bushfires Telstra developed new technologies to, which keeps help connect communities and emergency service customers informed during outages and disasters, agencies faster. and a clever roadside cabinet conversion plate. The first were the MEoW® (Mobile Exchange on Please see details following concerning past ideas Wheels) and CoW (Cell on Wheels) technologies. and innovations, including those resulting from These were developed for quick deployment to summer 2010/11.178
  • 180. CONTENTSINNOVATIONS AND IDEAS... PAST IDEAS AND INNOVATIONSRaised earth platforms Back in 2006 the Network Construction team were The cabinet on its raised earth platform may not beCan a pile of dirt be classed as a good idea? It can engaged to upgrade and deploy a CMUX (Customer one of the most attractive sites in Rockhampton,if it keeps thousands of customers connected. Multiplexer) cabinet. As part of the design process Queensland... but it certainly saved the day during they identified the likely risk of flooding due to flood the floods, keeping locals connected. zoning of the area and hence sited and deployed on a raised earth platform.Opposite: Telstra Emergency Communications Kit (TECK)Top Left: The Rockhampton (Qld) raised earth platform in the dry.Bottom Left & Right: The platform at the height of flooding. 179
  • 181. CONTENTS INNOVATIONS AND IDEAS... PAST IDEAS AND INNOVATIONS Mobile Exchange on Wheels or the MEoW® Cell on Wheels (CoW) and Satellite Cell on The standard CoW is trailer-mounted and once on The MEoW® was launched at an official event in Wheels (SatCoW) site can be deployed in around 24 hours, depending Marysville, Victoria in July 2009. Both CoWs and SatCoWs provide temporary on circumstances. See related stories ‘The fastest expanded mobile network coverage and/or capacity. CoW in the country’ (p.80) and ‘Who let the CoWs The MEoW® is a simple and highly portable, fully- They have been designed to support the Next G® out?’ (p.130). functional telephone exchange, specifically designed network, thus allowing for simultaneous voice, video to provide communications to disaster areas. SatCoWs use satellite transmission to a Next G® and data calls and can be used to provide rapid mobile base station and come in a number of forms The unit weighs three tonnes, is light enough to recovery of mobile network infrastructure when an including a trailer-mounted Satellite-Cell (which is a be towed behind a 4WD or light truck, and can be existing mobile base station is damaged, during cut-down version of a normal Cell on Wheels) and a deployed within hours. natural disasters and for remote installations in Portable Satellite Kit (which weighs in at about 300 offshore territories and remote communities. kilograms and therefore can be delivered by road or Once on site two technicians can activate the device to provide 450 telephone services and over 300 air and deployed within a few hours). The kit has ADSL2+ services at speeds of up to 20Mbps. been designed so that the unit can be easily set up by just two Telstra technicians.180
  • 182. CONTENTSINNOVATIONS AND IDEAS... PAST IDEAS AND INNOVATIONSTECKs and TREKs Each TREK contains three Iridium satellite handsets,Where massive network interruptions occur, Telstra with main and in-car chargers plus one solar mat,mobilises its Cells on Wheels (CoWs) providing offering three ways to recharge the phones. Eachmobile communications and their Telstra Emergency phone is programmed with a mobile number toCommunications Kits (TECKs) to provide local which other services can be redirected, which iscommunication access for recovery and support not available on usual satellite services. TREKs arecentres. recovered and replaced with TECKs when mobile coverage is restored.The TECK is a small, portable communications pack *Ericsson’s W25 fixed wireless terminal is a high-speed wireless voicedesigned to provide voice, data and broadband and data gateway and, when combined with Telstra’s Next G® network,services to emergency services during times of provides the perfect solution for a mobile office.crisis.Three hundred kits have been sent to key locationsacross the country. Upon deployment each TECKis tracked allowing the swift recovery of individualunits so devices can be tested and prepared for fastredeployment.The TECK operates over Telstra’s Next G® networkand includes a W25* wireless device and accessoriesto allow the device to be installed quickly.The W25 is a 240 volt powered unit requiring accessto mains or generator-provided power.However, depending on the situation (road access,etc.), it may take a few days to arrange the relocationof a CoW. Therefore, the Telstra Remote EmergencyKit (TREK), which operates over the Iridium Satellitenetwork, was developed and is made availableprior to predicted events in order to providecommunication during emergencies.Opposite Left: MEoW® (Mobile Exchange on Wheels) being demonstrated to local Service Delivery field team members at Gruyere Exchange (Vic), highlighting the benefits of the MEoW® for restoring customer serviceswhen there is a major exchange outage (l-r) Peter Mathieson, Steve Quinn and John Fixter. Opposite Right: SatCoW set up by Clint Dickson on Palm Island (see related story, ‘SatCoW flies to Palm Island’ p.154). 181Above Left: Telstra Remote Emergency Kit (TREK) with three handsets. Above Right: Mark Procter, Telstra Business, uses the TECK set up at the Tully (Qld) recovery centre.
  • 183. CONTENTS INNOVATIONS AND IDEAS... IDEAS AND INNOVATIONS DUE TO SUMMER 2010/11 RIM to CMUX conversion plate The issue Telstra encountered was that RIM materials Network Construction’s John Dempster and Greg During the devastating floods that gripped are no longer manufactured, therefore another Fay in conjunction with Networks and Access Queensland, many stories have surfaced of the technology was required. Network Construction Technologies’ Evan Toon and Peter Harvey designed challenges faced by our teams on the ground. One and Network & Access Technology teams decided and constructed a plinth (adapter plate) that could such challenge, at three sites within the Brisbane the best course of action was to utilise existing RIM be fixed to an existing RIM foundation and allow a Metro precinct (two at Jamboree Heights and foundations and create a ‘conversion plate’ that CMUX unit to be connected. one at Chapel Hill), required a Remote Integrated enabled a CMUX (Customer Multiplexer unit) to be This innovation enabled a quick resolution to a Multiplexer (RIM roadside cabinet) replacement to utilised. tricky problem, and by utilising the existing slab enable restoration of services. and conduit entry the team provided a conversion solution which can be easily built and easily used elsewhere in the network.182
  • 184. CONTENTSINNOVATIONS AND IDEAS... IDEAS AND INNOVATIONS DUE TO SUMMER 2010/11New website keeps customers informedduring outages and disastersAs a result of the team’s experiences during thesummer of 2010/11, the Network & IT Operationsteam developed a new Telstra website to givecustomers up-to-date information about networkoutages and restoration activities during majoroutages and natural disasters.The new website was launched in July 2011 andcan be found at to this website, customers can access theinformation at their convenience, without callingTelstra or waiting on the next news bulletin. It willalso allow family and friends who may be concernedabout people in disaster areas to check on thenetwork.During periods of normal operation this websitewill enable people to check what is happening tolandline, broadband, or mobile services in an areasimply by entering the relevant postcode. The siteprovides information about any outages that may beaffecting that area.During a natural disaster, the site will be expandedto include suburb or town name, with the status oflandline, broadband, and mobile services in eachtown or suburb. It will also include a map to highlightthe affected areas.In addition, the website will assist people byproviding them a link to report a fault and detailson how to apply for disaster assistance packageswhere available.Above: Image of Telstra’s Network Outages page: Left: After the RIM to CMUX conversion was complete, the MEoW® (which was being utilised at Chapel Hill to restore service to residential and business customers) was able to be relocated. 183Opposite Right: CMUX conversion nearly complete (note the adapter plate between the unit and old RIM foundations).
  • 185. CONTENTSAllen Brazier and Leon Boddington taking a break from working on flood-affected pillar cutovers, St Lucia (Qld).
  • 186. CONTENTS COMMUNITY, CUSTOMER AND INDUSTRY RECOGNITION OF OUR PEOPLE’S EFFORTSFollowing are just a few examples of emails and letters received from government agencies, emergency services and others, recognising the role Telstra Operations people play within their communities, whether at work or volunteering.
  • 187. CONTENTS RECOGNITION... RECOGNITION... CFA SAYS THANKS To: Phil Astle [Phil was responsible for I hope that the day was a success from your point planning Telstra’s involvement in the ‘On the of view and I trust that you now have a better ground in bushfire exercise’ (p.24) and he understanding of how incidents are conducted. received this email of thanks.] Hopefully this gives you and your team an opportunity From: Troy Lowther, Leading Firefighter to look at ways to continue to assist the emergency Country Fire Authority (CFA) services when required. Date: December 2010 *Ericsson’s W25 fixed wireless terminal is a high-speed wireless voice and data gateway and, when combined with Telstra’s Next G® network, Hi Phil, provides the perfect solution for a mobile office. I thought that I would take this opportunity to thank you and the other Telstra members for attending our exercise on Sunday 5 December. I think that overall the day was a great success with the emergency services and support agencies all getting something from the exercise. A couple of the things that the facilitators have reported back from the day include Telstra’s involvement in: • roviding and setting up the W25* Remote P Next G® phone/fax machine at the staging area; • ssisting crews with communications and A resource management; • ccompanying CFA strike teams in the field A to observe communications and operational procedures; and • bserving the Incident Control Centre functions O and the associated communications issues. I would like you to pass on my thanks to all the Telstra people that attended; they were all extremely polite and helpful, representing the company in the best light possible.186
  • 188. CONTENTSRECOGNITION... RECOGNITION...In January 2011, Telstra responded to a request from the Australian Communications and Media Authority(ACMA) to assist the Australian CommunicationExchange, which needed to relocate their call centre FLOODS DISRUPT NATIONAL RELAY SERVICElocated near the Brisbane CBD. Via their National Relay Service, this organisation provides vital telecommunication services for people who are deaf lines, power and crucial equipment could be ACMA also acknowledged Telstra’s contribution.or have a hearing or speech impairment. connected for call centre staff to continue taking Below is an extract from ACMA media release emergency calls. 25/2011 (11 March), ‘ACMA welcomes ACCAN* Telstra helped relocate Australian Communication report on Queensland flooding’:Exchange call centre staff into Telstra’s Mt Gravatt Fortunately, a Telstra Operations team found a Exchange. This included setting up ten lines for the way to help. Brendon Ede and his team offered “The severe flooding risk caused the temporary operators to take calls, as well as establishing the to house the call centre staff at the Mt Gravatt suspension of most services provided by thenecessary technical solutions to enable text-based, Telstra Exchange building. government’s National Relay Service (NRS), which telephone typewriter emergency calls to be received. provides telecommunications services (including Malcolm McKellar arranged for Mark NugentPeter Gilmartin from Telstra Strategy and Corporate an emergency call service) to people who are to be on site within 30 minutes to help install deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment.Services said within a few hours of receiving the telephone lines. The NRS Brisbane call centre was evacuated for request from the ACMA, Telstra Operations pulled out all stops to achieve this outcome. The Mt Gravatt Exchange was just a bare bones 24 hours on 12 January 2011 due to concerns building so Mark also made sure the staff working about staff safety and access during the floods. “This has been a fantastic effort from everyone inNetwork & Information Technology Operations and inside would be comfortable. He organised a trip “Importantly, due to the sustained efforts of thethose team members doing the work on the ground to Bunnings to get fluoro lights and a few other Australian Communication Exchange (ACE), as from Service Delivery. refurbishments. He also co-ordinated a Telstra the NRS relay provider, and our grateful support van to collect workstation seats from our building. from Telstra, the text-based emergency access“Once again this effort highlights what we as a via 106 was not interrupted over this period.” company can deliver in times of major disaster,” said These extraordinary acts of generosity allPeter. happened in a matter of hours and meant that *The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is the peak body that represents all consumers on communications issuesZoë Boyd, Director of Strategy & Planning, Australian vital services were maintained for Australia’s deaf, including telecommunications, broadband and emerging new services.Communication Exchange recalls how it all came hearing impaired and speech impaired. The callabout: centre staff worked from within the Mt Gravatt location for 24 hours while waiting for news of the During the height of the Brisbane flood crisis, rising flood waters. thousands of businesses evacuated their Fortunately the water didn’t rise as high as initially premises. predicated and the Australian Communication Our organisation, which provides vital Exchange was able to return to their building the telecommunication services to deaf, hearing following day. impaired and speech impaired Australians nationally 24 hours a day needed to be relocated Our sincerest appreciation to the Telstra team also. We needed a location where telephone involved for helping through the crisis.Above: Some of the Australian Communication Exchange team relocated at Telstra’s Mt Gravatt Exchange.Opposite: On the ground bushfire exercise, 5/12/10. 187
  • 189. CONTENTS RECOGNITION... RECOGNITION... QUEENSLAND DEPARTMENT THANKS TELSTRA FOR SPEEDY RESPONSE The Network Applications and Services (NAS) At that stage Cyclone Yasi was expected to hit the So pleased was the Queensland Department that Contact Centre Operations team are used to dealing coast between Cairns and Innisfail at 11:00pm that they not only thanked Matt for his assistance but with emergencies and, given the amount of cyclonic evening, bringing winds of up to 280 kilometres also indicated that while the roll out of Web Chat weather in Queensland, it is becoming increasingly per hour. was useful for the floods and cyclones they aim to common for them to assist customers in this area. include it for all their customers. By 3:45pm the customer had access to the Web Before Cyclone Yasi even hit, the Contact Centre Chat function and ten email addresses had been Director of the NAS Next Generation Operations Operations team was already prepared for its onset provisioned and added to its Telstra web-based team, Lincoln Jurd, congratulated the team for their by assisting some of its Queensland customers. contact centre product, WebCC Solution, as part of efforts saying, “Our people are what sets Telstra the upgrade to the full multimedia feature package. apart from our competitors and the team has shown The Department of Employment, Economic that in a crisis there is no one better. Well done Matt Development and Innovation was one such This speedy and professional response was made and Hayley.” customer. possible by a technical specialist within the Contact Centre Solutions Group, Matt Druhan, who organised The team recognised early that it would need to a hasty configuration schedule with a Customer provide additional assistance, and an initial change Service Representative at BigPond® Billing Level 2 request was made from the Department to increase Support, Hayley Brooks, who expedited the process the number of user licenses and upgrade to a full of email provisioning. multimedia package.188
  • 190. CONTENTSRECOGNITION... RECOGNITION... COMMENDATIONS FOR QUICK ACTION Intercarrier Fault Management (IFM) team manager Damien said, “What was really fantastic was the Damien Bale, Network & IT Operations, has received willingness of everyone to get in and help, even if emails from Telstra Wholesale and external customers what they were doing was outside their normal role. commending his efforts during the recovery of the “We even got to the point where we were ready and Queensland floods. prepared to deploy software patches if the flooding Damien took the lead on 11 requests from other broke through the sandbagging and impacted more telecommunications carriers for network assistance of the network. Thankfully, in many cases, these following the disaster. weren’t required.” Among the requests, Damien arranged the commissioning and delivery of a temporary 10Gb service between Sydney and Brisbane and also co- ordinated the upgrade of a four-line basic service, which was being used for a volunteer hotline, to a Premium Onramp 30 service within a 24 hour period. A normal request like this can usually take some time from the initial request to be designed and implemented, but these were extraordinary times so Network Construction put in an extraordinary effort, working back late to deliver early. Damien ensured he was available on the Saturday to follow through the implementation of the upgrade. He did this to ensure that this didn’t place any extra load on the team, who were already under extra workload due to the volume of incidents they were managing as a result of the situation in Queensland.Opposite: Matt Druhan and Hayley Brooks.Above: Damien Bale in the Major Incident Management (MIM) incident centre. 189
  • 191. CONTENTS RECOGNITION... RECOGNITION... A ‘BIG THANK YOU’ FROM VOLUNTEERING QUEENSLAND Networks and Access Technologies’ Barrie Hall We quickly organised to have their ISDN service explains what happened behind-the-scenes, upgraded to 30 lines but in order to be able to meet From: Jelenko Dragisic, Volunteering Queensland CEO from 13 to 15 January, which resulted in the demand quickly, I also organised for some 15 mobile Dear Mr Thodey CEO of Volunteering Queensland sending the handsets to be sent to Volunteering Queensland’s following letter of recognition to Telstra’s CEO. office in Brisbane. However, couriers would not On behalf of all of us here at Volunteering Qld, I am writing to say One Big Thank You for Telstra’s timely take them and they ended up travelling to Brisbane Volunteering Queensland came to me via Gavin assistance to our office during the January floods. courtesy of Channel 7. Costello, a friend of mine in Telstra Innovation Volunteering Qld received an overwhelming number Products and Marketing. They needed some We then had the 1800 number reconfigured to of phone calls from the community in response to the emergency web hosting and they needed their 1800 divert to the mobile handsets and to the new fixed natural disaster. Over 500 volunteers were recruited number fixed. services, once they were working. to take phone calls and to work shifts, alongside our The web hosting was simple to set up and was Gregg Francis from Networks and Access CREW (Community Response to Extreme Weather) team. made available to Volunteering Queensland in less Technologies organised to have one of his team Mr Barrie Hall, from Corporate, Enterprise and Security than three hours. members in Brisbane assist Volunteering Queensland was able to organise a number of mobile phones with a number of tasks including charging the for use by key CREW personnel, which ensured all After several calls with Jelenko Dragisic (Volunteering handsets and setting up diversions on the Saturday landlines were open to receive calls from the public. Queensland’s CEO), it became clear their real morning. We are very pleased to advise that at least 83,000 problem was the 1800 number. The floods were at individuals registered their interest in volunteering their worst in Brisbane and Volunteering Queensland Many, many people pulled together to get this done, during emergencies over a period of weeks during and had just started a campaign to encourage volunteers but I would like to single out Gregg Francis and Alex after the flood. to phone in to offer help. The number featured in Heathers from Telstra’s Chief Marketing Office for the ticker box on the bottom of the screen on most doing the heavy lifting. We at Volunteering Qld acknowledge and express our news channels at the time. appreciation for Telstra’s kind gesture. After making some calls and poking around a bit it became clear to me, while they had plenty of staff to take inbound phone calls at their office, they only had four phone lines. “This was a huge effort from across the company. I have never seen Telstra move so quickly and with such great internal co-operation.” – Barrie Hall.190
  • 192. CONTENTSRECOGNITION... RECOGNITION... ANGLICARE WARMED BY QUICK AND RELEVANT CONTRIBUTIONOn 25 January Telstra CEO David Thodey visited with Telstra’s field restoration teams and also took the opportunity to meet with Telstra’s communitypartners, including Anglicare Australia, whichdistributed 200 Telstra pre-paid mobile handsets, as well as thousands of recharge and PhoneAway cardsto people in need.At the time Kasy Chambers, Executive Director Anglicare Australia said, “We were moved and warmed by the quick and relevant contribution ofTelstra during the Queensland floods. The response targeted getting people back in contact – being cutoff at a time like that only exacerbates the effects.”Opposite Left: Barrie Hall. Opposite Right: Elana Siu from Volunteering Queensland’s call centre.Above: Kasy Chambers. 191
  • 193. CONTENTS RECOGNITION... RECOGNITION... PM OFFERS HEARTFELT THANKS TO VOLUNTEERS Service Delivery’s Tim Lostroh shares his experiences concerning community recognition volunteers received. I met Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Australia Day, 26 January, when she came to Toowoomba, Queensland to be part of an event to thank the emergency service and military groups involved in the events of 10 January. As the SES Group Leader of Toowoomba, I was invited to attend and meet with Julia along with our Deputy Controller. We were taken to the rotunda and were told it would be a private and quiet meeting – not really the case once the media arrived to cover the event. The Prime Minister offered a heartfelt thanks to me personally and for the work of the Toowoomba SES. Although not present on this day Telstra technician Tony Wuersching from Toowoomba is also a long- term SES member and was also activated during the January floods. As an SES volunteer I was invited to numerous events. The two I remember well were an event on 20 March when His Royal Highness Prince William visited Toowoomba to thank volunteers; and an event on 11 June where SES volunteers participated in a ceremony where the Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, recognised our efforts during the summer 10/11.192
  • 194. CONTENTSRECOGNITION... RECOGNITION... SALVOS EMERGENCY VOLUNTEERS RECOGNISED During December 2010, while technicians at Bundaberg, Queensland worked through the night On the evening of Tuesday 28 January Peter and (see related story, ‘The magnificent seven’ p.97), his wife Kathleen attended an awards ceremony Service Delivery’s Peter Evans was busy volunteering and both received a Queensland Disaster Heroes as the area co-ordinator for emergency services in Medal from Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, in the local Salvation Army. recognition of their efforts in Bundaberg which saw many people fed, clothed and sheltered “Our main aim at the beginning was to feed flood during a great time of need. victims and emergency service workers. We then moved into recovery mode when things started to *Jeopardy managers manage high priority customer work requests and clear up,” said Peter. ensure that high level enhanced appointments and commitments in jeopardy are proactively managed. Thanks to the help of his family and support of his Telstra team, Peter has managed to fit his volunteering around his full-time job as a jeopardy officer* in Bundaberg. “I started the breakfast shift with the Salvation Army at 4:00am and then my wife kept going while I went to work. “During my smoko, lunch break and after work I got back to it and my wife and I normally got home late in the evening to do the paperwork. “I’ve been involved in a few emergency situations before, but nothing compares to this,” added Peter.Opposite: Tim Lostroh and Prime Minister Julia Gillard.Above Top: (l-r) Kathleen, Rebekah, Peter and Aaron Evans at the award event, 08/06/11. 193Above Bottom: Peter Evans (right) delivering food to Wally Van Peperstraten as he works through the night in Bundaberg.
  • 195. CONTENTS RECOGNITION... RECOGNITION... ROD AND THE REJECT SHOP The Reject Shop is located at Bundamba on the The customer at The Reject Shop was delighted at Email from: Darren O’Connor, CIO, south side of Brisbane and had approximately one the response he received from Telstra in restoring all The Reject Shop metre of water through it. of his services and the way in which Rod maintained Sent: Thursday, 24 February 2011 contact with him, delivering as promised. Rod Butcher’s role was to facilitate the rectification of To: CEO David Thodey and Telstra Enterprise & the services associated with the flooding in Brisbane However, Rod was very quick to point out that this Government GMD and The Reject Shop was one of many customers was a significant team effort and his role was to who lost their service due to the floods. facilitate an outcome from a project management Subject: Queensland Flood Recovery perspective. The works involved identifying what services were I know there are many Telstra employees damaged and providing a solution that would restore Others involved from the Wideband team include: performing great work in assisting Queensland the service quickly. front-end and desk top review by Ian Braithwaite and to recover from the recent floods however I just Andrew Burnett; the initial site visit was completed by want to bring to your attention the outstanding The customer’s existing Integrated Services Digital Des Kenyon and Stuart Simpson; design assessment work being done by the Wideband group led by Network (ISDN) cabinet had approximately one carried out by Paul Burnett, Victor Savaris and Ian Rod Butcher. metre of water through the communication room. Broadhurst; Steve Burchill assisted by arranging the The team arranged for the damaged cabinet to Rod and his team have demonstrated a genuine build and replacement of the cabinet; Sean Myatt be removed, a new cabinet to be built, delivered, commitment to getting the work done, and installed the customer equipment; and IP platform installed and AC power connected. The ISDN assisting customers restore their services to the work by Naomi O’Donnell and Michael O’Reilly. services were then installed and commissioned. This absolute best of anyone’s ability. was finalised late Friday 18 February. Whilst it has been a huge team effort, no team Late on Monday 21 February, Rod was contacted by operates effectively without great leadership customer Peter Arians to enquire about the Internet and I think Rod’s own performance has Protocol Metro Area Network (IPMAN) service. been excellent. Some of the equipment had been removed and Events like this test organisations and people put out of the way by the customer in an overhead and Telstra’s outstanding response will not tray in an attempt to save the OMC (Optical Media be forgotten. Converter) unit. The OMC unit was found to have moisture damage and required replacement also. Rod arranged to have the unit replaced the following day and all services to The Reject Shop were working again.194
  • 196. CONTENTSRECOGNITION... RECOGNITION...A number of Telstra team members involved inCyclone Yasi recovery efforts were invited by theMayor of Cairns Regional Council and Queensland’s AN INVITATION TO AN INFORMAL EVENT Premier, Anna Bligh, to meet His Royal Highness Prince William on Saturday 19 March. WITH HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCE WILLIAM The event was organised to thank volunteers andpersonnel who assisted with the groundwork,management and recovery efforts associated withCyclone Yasi.Those invited from the Telstra Operations Service Delivery and Network Construction teams included:Tony Broadway Lyn FullerMarty Brunger Timothy GrayBruce Crawford Peter GuerinGeorgie Hunter Vickta GulliverDarryl Langtree Mal HaskardGary Nolan Bill HillNeil Smith Wayne LangtreeChris Van Elst Warren McNamara Joshua Weier Calan PriceQuinn Andrews Chris RhookRoss Auger Mark RyanNeil Billiau Paul SpannerWayne Cansick Craig TirrelBarry Chaplin Gary TurnerMark Clifford Chris WilesBrian Crane Andrew WithnallDru DingwallAbove: Brian Crane in the crowd meeting Prince William. 195
  • 197. CONTENTS RECOGNITION... RECOGNITION... LETTER FROM THE FEDERAL MEMBER FOR WRIGHT Letter from: Scott Buchholz MP, Federal Member for Wright Received: Wednesday, 22 June 2011 To: James Shaw, Telstra Government Relations Below is a direct extract from the letter from the Federal Member of Wright. “I am indeed grateful for the help and support Telstra provided to the people of the Grantham, Murphy’s Creek, Mt Sylvia and the general Lockyer Valley area during the dreadful floods of January this year. Communications were and are vitally important and we – in the electorate of Wright – value the work performed by Telstra personnel.”196
  • 198. CONTENTSRECOGNITION... RECOGNITION... OUR PEOPLE’S COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTION RECOGNISEDIn recognition of the efforts Telstra teams put in duringthe Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi, Telstra has won the Community Contribution award at the 2011 Communications Alliance & CommsDay ACOMM Awards in Sydney on 7 July 2011.Telstra was recognised for their people’s assistanceto emergency services, commitment to keepingcustomers connected during the disasters andongoing support for communities as they rebuild.Following is a direct extract from the CommunicationsAlliance website announcing why Telstra was chosento receive ACOMM’s Community Contribution award: “When the floods and Cyclone Yasi devastated Queensland in January, Telstra was at the scene, assisting emergency service organisations with their telecommunication requirements and restoring services to their customers. Telstra’s support goes beyond this - recognising that recovery is a long-term process, it continues to assist the affected communities with financial and in-kind support.” – Communications Alliance, 7 July 2011.Opposite: John Parkin and Lockyer Valley team manager Jason Wade, while assessing damage to Grantham Exchange on 18/01/11, were shocked by the devastation flash flooding caused the small community.Above Bottom Left: Discussing progress of a repair job north of Warwick are (l-r) Scott Gorton, Dave Williams and Greg Long. Above Bottom Right: Pit work at St Lucia, Brisbane Allen Brazier (far pit) and Leon Boddington (closest pit). 197
  • 199. CONTENTS Top Left: Loading a Black Hawk in Rockhampton with gensets bound for Theodore (see related story on p.99). Top Right: Barry Chaplin, Tim Gray, Lester Lidston (ex-Service Delivery who came in from retirement to assist198 with the restoration) in Tully. Bottom Left: Sign of the times, a photograph taken by Clint Dickson while working at Palm Island (see related story p.154). Bottom Right: During Cyclone Yasi large trees were uprooted, here we see one crushing a Telstra guard at Bushland Beach, Townsville.
  • 200. CONTENTSTop Left: A research vessel high and dry on a football field in the Brisbane suburb of St Lucia is just one of the strange sights team members came across. Top Right: Rubbish piled high on the footpath, St. Lucia, Brisbane.Bottom: Signs of recovery at St Lucia, Brisbane. 199
  • 201. CONTENTSJohn Parkin, Jason Wade and Dean Currey at Murphy’s Creek Exchange, 18/01/11.
  • 203. CONTENTS LAST WORDS... FROM THE TELSTRA OPERATIONS LEADERSHIP TEAM About Telstra Operations Telstra Operations is the largest business unit of Telstra Corporation Limited, with over 20,000 employees. Telstra Operations is responsible for all aspects of the design, engineering, architecture, construction, and operation of Telstra networks, technology and information technology, plus the delivery of customer services across those networks. Executive Directors who led a Telstra Operations line of business during summer 10/11, and who had team members involved or impacted, remarked as follows about the experience. Phill Sporton, Executive Director, Service Delivery The level of natural disasters across Australia has been unique for a generation at least and has tested us in many ways. But the level of enthusiasm and collaboration seen across the recovery effort has been amazing. Some of these team members had been working non-stop since September 2010 and had no hesitation in rolling up their sleeves and getting out there until the job was done. The reason we are able to deal with tough periods - floods, fires, cyclones - is we have a great bunch of people focused on our customers and keeping them connected. There are a lot of great individuals out there, but the community has seen one Telstra, working together to get the job done.202
  • 204. CONTENTSCraig Hancock, Executive Director, Network & IT OperationsThe events of this summer will remain with many of us for the rest of our lives. These eventspresented us with recovery challenges including floods, bushfires and Cyclone Yasi. Across our teams, people worked incredibly hard and, in many cases, in challenging conditions to assistaffected communities restore their communications.Our teams in the Major Incident Management and Global Operation Centre once again worked side-by-side with teams across Telstra to co-ordinate and manage the many impacts thesedisasters had on our network.The teams demonstrated their expertise at managing stakeholder communications in anemergency situation and working closely with Corporate Affairs, for the first time social media platforms such as Twitter were used to keep customers informed.I am so proud of the way everyone across Telstra comes together in a time of crisis – thecommitment shown by all our teams is inspiring.John Gibbs, Executive Director, Network ConstructionDespite the severity of the conditions imposed upon our networks over the summer, ourinfrastructure stood up remarkably well. However, mainly due to loss of power, there weresignificant customer implications. This is where our proven, often proactive, response during these times, stood us in good stead. Our response was very well received by the communities and customers affected, as well as emergency service personnel on the ground.Thanks to the close collaboration between the Telstra Operations team and our external partners, we were able to move forward swiftly to clean, repower, rebuild and restore ournetworks. My gratitude to all involved for your sense of urgency and ownership towards keepingour customers connected. 203
  • 205. CONTENTS Mike Wright, Executive Director, Networks and Access Technologies Coming into 2011 the eastern states were battling the start of a devastating flood disaster that would stretch over weeks and in many places return again to inundate some towns. Within weeks Cyclone Yasi unleashed her wrath on North Queensland as Western Australia dealt with the damage suffered from bushfires. Times like these see teams across Telstra unite. These events see people from all areas of Telstra draw on their experience and expertise. Our innovative technologies such as our Cell on Wheels, Satellite Cell on Wheels and our Mobile Exchange on Wheels (MEoW®) were deployed swiftly by our teams, providing temporary communications solutions to communities in crisis. Over the summer I witnessed how Telstra people come together planning and implementing our recovery strategies to do what we do best: connect and serve our customers and communities. Michael Lawrey, Executive Director, Architecture, Online & Media The natural disasters that affected Australia during this past summer were unprecedented due to their unrelenting timing and the severity of damage they caused to Australian communities. During the floods in Queensland, Victoria and northern New South Wales, as well as fires in Western Australian and the devastation that Cyclone Yasi caused, Australians needed to know they could rely on the essential services of power, water and telecommunications. Our people worked for many months during these challenging times to ensure Australians had access to telecommunications services and I would like to recognise their efforts and thank them for their hard work. Our people are what sets Telstra apart from our competitors and we have shown that in a crisis there is no one better.204
  • 206. CONTENTSPaul McManus, Executive Director, Network Applications & ServicesCyclone Yasi is now known as one of the worst natural disasters to have affected Australiacausing more than $500 million damage to impacted communities. Combine this with the floods in Queensland, Victoria, northern New South Wales and fires in Western Australia and this past summer can easily be described as an extraordinary period in Australia’s history.I am incredibly proud of the efforts of our staff in response to these horrific events. As always, we were on the frontline ensuring telecommunications services in impacted areas were restoredquickly and in some cases, unaffected. Thank you to those who worked so hard during thistime – your efforts were exceptional.Patrick Eltridge, Executive Director, Information TechnologyTelstra is unique in that we touch the lives of almost every Australian. The natural disasters thataffected Australia over summer put many people under immense pressure – but in the faceof a challenge our people really showed us what they are made of. The quick thinking, teamwork and skill between our teams meant people could be reconnected with each other underdifficult circumstances. I’m so proud to work with such spirited, committed people at Telstra, who not only care aboutthe company but, have such genuine concern for their colleagues and the people impactedby the natural disasters. Our people are the most important part of our organisation, they are our core. 205
  • 207. CONTENTS LAST WORDS... RECOGNISING THE FAMILIES OF TELSTRA OPERATIONS TEAM MEMBERS “I am always in awe of the patience and understanding of our employees’ family members; the mums, dads, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters; who put up with the absence of their loved one for weeks-on-end during the restoration phase. “After crises such as these, it is understood that birthdays, anniversaries and other important family milestones are sometimes missed. Words cannot convey how grateful we were to our people’s families for their support during this time.” – Mick Cooper, Team Manager, Service Delivery206
  • 208. CONTENTSAbove: Jason Wade leaving Grantham, Lockyer Valley (Qld), 18/01/11. 207 207
  • 209. CONTENTSLeon Boddington after putting in some hard yakka at St Lucia (Qld), 19/01/11.The Australian summer 2010/11 brought with it bushfires, cyclones, storms and flooding- all of which were typical events for this time of year. However, combine these with anunprecedented La Niña event and you have an extraordinary summer.Boots & All captures over a hundred stories, recording an unprecedented momentof this company’s history - the summer of 2010/11. The comprehensive nature ofthis publication has only been made possible due to the generous spirit of the TelstraOperations team. Thank you to the storytellers and subjects for sharing their experiences.