During the 2019–20 bushfires, Australia's major telecommunications carriers deployed temporary communications facilities to communities and evacuation centres where possible, providing temporary connectivity and a lifeline for many in areas affected by network outages.
The Australian Government has co-invested with the telecommunications industry to purchase portable communications facilities such as cells on wheels (COWs), mobile exchanges on wheels (MEOWs) and NBN Road Muster trucks, which can be positioned in disaster affected areas to allow communications services to be restored quickly.
The investment means that temporary communications infrastructure is ready to hit the road when needed, allowing Australians to keep in contact with family and essential services, and making sure essential food, water and fuel purchases can occur.
Funding has been provided to NBN Co to purchase 5 extra Road Muster satellite trucks and 12 portable satellite kits to provide connectivity where needed during emergencies. These have all been delivered and stationed at strategic locations around Australia to better respond to emergency events.