[LINK] Mobile Phone for USO - Was NBN low income scheme

Richard Chirgwin rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Thu Oct 27 06:52:52 AEDT 2011

Frank -

It looks like I'm going to have to do some background reading when I 
have a second or two to spare, because I can't remember all the 
varieties of USO support schemes that already exist ...

1. Some of the most remote communities, outstations and homesteads today 
are connected using long-haul radio links that Telstra uses in place of 
copper. I don't know the long-term fate of those links; while uncommon, 
there are hundreds of such links still in service.

2. There is already a subsidy for satellite phones in the most remote 

3. Mobiles are already included in various subsidy schemes for 
indigenous communities:

4. Telstra already uses mobiles for "priority customers" if they're 
suffering an extended fixed service outage.

It's over the top, in my opinion, to demand that the NBN be built to a 
level of emergency survivability that doesn't exist today.


On 27/10/11 6:35 AM, Frank O'Connor wrote:
> And how would the proposed battery survive all the disasters you mention? Not to mention the fact that the fibre connections that they power would probably have melted or been otherwise destroyed because they are up on poles and exposed. As you say, fire, flood, storms and many other disasters are pernicious ... whether you're running copper or fibre.
> A mobile phone battery won't last forever, but if it does the job connecting to emergency services and relatives and friends et alia, then it has served its purpose on the occasion. If the person concerned wants to run every aspect of their lives, and run the battery down, from the mobile ... when the primary access channel has been destroyed, let them invest in the necessary additional mobile batteries - or their own mobile ... else, live within the limits of the device for the duration and hope you can get to a recharger/powerpoint sometime during the course of the emergency if it runs low. (Many mobiles can be run/charged from power sources in cars and the like ... all it needs is the proper cabling and intervening power transformer technology.)
> I don't see how this objection obviates the suggestion of a cheap mobile for alternate access rather than a high maintenance and expensive battery solution to lines/fibre that may or may not have survived the emergency. (In the REALLY remote bush a satellite mobile may be the go ... which would be more expensive ... but our Telcos do boast about the extent of their mobile coverage - and in any case such remote NBN connections are planned to be done on wireless rather than the wired infrastructure.) Of course, mobile towers or wireless nodes can burn down or melt or be flooded or otherwise damaged in an emergency ... but so too are exchanges, remote area telephone lines and optic fibre which are uniformly/routinely carried on poles in the bush or remote areas, as well as other telecommunications infrastructure.
> Finally, given the extent of mobile ownership today (especially in the remote bush and amongst the Cockies or miners) it's highly likely that only a tiny proportion of the population would require or want the NBN freebie. I know I wouldn't ... I'm happy with my own mobile and provider, and despite the frequency of my trips to pretty remote areas of Australia (in inland Queensland and coastal WA) haven't hit many areas at all where my mobile has found itself in a non-connected hole. And if I had, and if I often travelled to or lived in those areas ... I'd probably have invested in a satellite mobile. (My brother is a fisherman in WA and has no problems connecting using a normal mobile ... even late in the season when he's out on the Continental Shelf.)
> Again ... Just my 2 cents worth.
> ---
> On 26/10/2011, at 10:20 PM, Ross Kelso wrote:
>> Tom Koltai said:
>> "In most of Metropolitan Australia (93% of the
>> population), the Power Grid now has very few blackouts necessitating the
>> use of Standby or backup power options.
>> In Country areas whwere Brownouts and lightning outages are more
>> commonplace, the NBN will be delivered by high frequency microwave."
>> ================
>> This is a gross simplification.  Not all so-called 'Country' areas will receive NBN service by microwave and not all metropolitan areas (receiving the NBN by fibre) have a reliable power supply service.  In the latter case, you only have to look at outer-metropolitan areas of many cities which are more likely to have tree-lined streets, often merging into semi-rural areas, where come a severe storm (let alone a cyclone) the trees will fall across the power lines and outages will last for days as the authorities won't be able to cope with the widespread damage.  Also think bush fires.  The Hills District of Sydney is a prime example; I live on the Gold Coast - just 5km from the sea - with Foxtel HFC cable outside - but dread the likely severe storms this summer, also bush fires.  Outer metro areas typically have power line routes without redundancy.  BUT THEN consider aerial cabling of the NBN and the problems immediately magnify.  Oh, and don't forget tropical places like !
>   To!
>> wnsville: INNER metropolitan streets there already have the NBN strung aerially and cyclone Yasi brought it down only this year.  The power was out for a number of weeks!
>> Ross Kelso
>> http://www.noaerialnbn.org
>> (PS: The Marysville (Vic.) bush fire damage was so severe and power outage so prolonged that even the mobile phone batteries went flat - they couldn't be re-charged!  This sort of thing could happen again in the Sutherland Shire of Sydney which has a history of bush fires and power line routes without redundancy on the fringes.)
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