Telco Authority and NSW SES launch communications site in Grafton
NSW Telco Authority and NSW SES will launch the first agency operated fully-mobile government radio communications site in Grafton today.
The project, known as a Cell on Wheels (CoW) provides public safety agency frontline workers with a deployable mission-critical solution for operational radio communications.
“The CoW will provide significant support to emergency and operational response agencies as they work with communities during disasters,” NSW Telco Authority Managing Director, Kate Foy, explained.
“It is the newest addition to the state’s supply of mobile radio assets and the latest product resulting from collaboration between the Telco Authority and NSW SES to improve frontline communications during critical incidents.”
The CoW enhances frontline worker safety by providing radio communications where there is no coverage from existing fixed infrastructure; where existing infrastructure is damaged in the event of a critical incident; and during major incidents or events.
“The CoW was created based on key learnings from a number of incidents that identified the challenges associated with providing temporary emergency communications in difficult terrain and remote locations,” explained NSW SES Commissioner, Mark Smethurst.
The CoW was jointly funded by NSW SES and the Critical Communications Enhancement Program (CCEP), which will increase radio coverage on the North Coast from less than 17 per cent to over 90 per cent.
Representing the Minister for Police and Emergency Services Troy Grant, Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis explained, “The CCEP represents the largest investment in critical communications by the NSW Government in two decades”.
“The North Coast was identified as a high priority for this project, because of our high rate of natural disasters and flood-prone areas” he added.
The CoW is based on an Iveco 4WD platform that facilitates access to locations normally inaccessible by regular 4x4 vehicles and trailers. Where road access is not possible, the equipment is purpose-built to be dismounted from the vehicle and deployed by helicopter. When the Cow is dismounted, the vehicle is able to accommodate different pods of equipment to suit other operational requirements.
87 radio sites have been identified for construction or upgrade in a region that spans from Port Stephens to the Queensland border. Stage one construction activities for the first nine sites commenced this month.