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CSIRO and Optus act to mitigate bushfire risks to telecommunications infrastructure

CSIRO and Optus act to mitigate bushfire risks to telecommunications infrastructure

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Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, and Optus have released findings of a joint nationwide project to improve bushfire resilience of critical telecommunications.

The research analysed where there is risk of damage to the network and where upgrades could reduce vulnerability to future bushfire events.

Since mid-2020, CSIRO and Optus have collaborated on a study of the potential impacts of embers, radiation and flame on and around Optus’ sites with telecommunications equipment. These lessons have been used to assess which sites were most at risk and the priority site design changes.

Information on topography, fuel load, vegetation type and local bushfire weather severity was used to develop maps which then inform resiliency decisions for this critical infrastructure.

Optus is implementing the recommended mitigations at two of its sites in Victoria, Seville East and Dixons Creek, as reference examples for a larger, longer-term resiliency program and also to act as demonstration sites to help other infrastructure owners understand the lessons.

“Optus continuously aims to improve our network’s resilience as we know communities rely heavily on our services, especially during natural disasters and extreme weather events,” said Lambo Kanagaratnam, Optus Managing Director Network. “Our collaboration with CSIRO has provided us with the analysis to allow us to target the best ways to protect the network where it could be most vulnerable.”

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