February 20, 2023
Storm scale challenges network planners
A telecommunications industry spokesperson says the sector needs to look at how to networks can be made more robust in the face of natural disasters.
Telecommunications Forum chief executive Paul Brislen says cellphone, copper and fibre networks need power at the tower or street cabinet level, and when that’s down existing batteries can only extend operations another four to eight hours.
Operators also moved extra generators to the region in advance of the storm, but they need to be moved on site and filled with fuel, which is a challenge when roads are cut.
He says if storms like Gabrielle become the new normal a rethink is needed.
“We’re used to dealing with a state of emergency, possibly in one region. You might have Northland gets hit by a storm,. You might have Northland and Coromandel. We could ceertainly manage that in years gone by. But to have the entire North Island affected and to have such a wide scale level of disruption across power, orading and telecommunicaitons at the same time is quite unusual, quite unprececedented,” Mr Brislen says.
The further away people are from the big city people are the more reliant they are on telecommunications, so there is an argument for even more rural broadband.