Australian network operators and telcos to collaborate on emergency response


Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and the Communications Alliance have signed an MoU to better their emergency response.

The basis for the agreement is that electricity and communications are both critical infrastructures, particularly when it comes to services and connectivity during and in the recovery from emergency events such as storms or bushfires.

Specifically, the memorandum of understanding (MoU) sets out several objectives for collaboration and knowledge sharing. These include improving the safety of communities by mitigating the risks of being isolated due to telecommunications or power outages and improving the sustainability of both telecommunications and power supply services to communities affected by emergencies to support their recovery.

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Further, it targets effective collaboration between telecommunications and electricity networks and coordination of infrastructure in preparing for and responding to emergencies at all levels, local, regional and state.

“The agreement provides important guidance for the energy and telecommunications sectors to work more closely together during emergencies and in planning for natural disasters such as bushfires,” says ENA chief executive officer, Andrew Dillon.

John Stanton, CEO of the Communications Alliance, concurs, saying: “The MoU will facilitate increased resilience of telecommunications and energy infrastructure and is supported by other steps both sectors are taking to further enhance safety for the Australian community during natural disasters.”

For the purpose of the MoU, an emergency is defined as “an event that causes or could potentially cause, a widespread disruption, or the risk of a widespread disruption, and requires a significant and coordinated response”.

The MoU builds on joint efforts that started between the sectors in May 2020, according to a statement. With its signing, it could form a blueprint for similar agreements between the two sectors in other regions.

ENA and the Communications Alliance are the national industry bodies for the respective sectors.