By Claire Ottaviano
WHILE eight mobile towers were saved during this month’s Wooroloo fires, landline cabling was not so fortunate, with work to restore the telecommuncations network starting last week.
Telstra technical crews began assessing and scoping the damage to both aerial and underground cables throughout Wooroloo, Gidgegannup and Tilden Park on Monday, February 8.
Telstra regional general manager Boyd Brown said the fires had caused no significant damage to the mobile network, but the cable network had taken extensive and widespread damage.
“We do have a lot of aerial cabling in this area as the rock surface makes it impossible to install underground,” he said.
“It’s still too early to provide an update on restoration of the cabling, but we’ll endeavour to get this progressed and new cabling installed as fast as possible.”
Firefighters protected eight mobile towers within the fire zone with some of the towers powered with generators when AC mains power was lost.
“We worked closely with DFES and when it was safe to enter the fire zone our technicians were able to connect generators to five of the sites to enable the mobile network to be restored,” he said.
“We have had some ongoing technical issues with some of the sites affecting 4G and 3G services, but I am pleased to say that these have now been repaired and services restored.”
Telstra is working with Western Power to restore mains power to the sites.
When the blaze started about 420 landlines were impacted.
Telstra residential and small business customers who lost services due to the fires are eligible for a disaster relief package.
The package includes those based in Gidgegannup, Herne Hill, Upper Swan, Red Hill, Ellenbrook, Bullsbrook, Wundowie, Parkerville and Red Hill.