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Market research—natural disasters and telecommunications

As part of the communications awareness and coordination component of the Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters (STAND) package, market research has recently been undertaken on the community's understanding of telecommunications during a natural disaster.

Essence Communications conducted the market research on behalf of the Department. It included over 40 in-depth interviews with industry and community stakeholders, five focus groups and a quantitative survey of 1,500 people across Australia.

The key findings from the market research include:

  • As technology has advanced, Australians have embraced new telecommunication services and integrated the key functionality and conveniences into their everyday lives
  • Many Australians think they know how telecommunications work, however, most over-estimate their knowledge. When tested, they are not able to explain the implications if there is a telecommunications outage.
  • Many Australians have high expectations of the resilience and recovery of telecommunication services in a natural disaster. However, most Australians acknowledge that during a natural disaster, it is likely that their telecommunications could be disrupted or lost for a significant period of time.
  • In preparing for or during a natural disaster, State and Territory emergency services websites and apps are the most trusted sources of information.
  • Regional and rural residents are generally better prepared for telecommunications outages in a natural disaster and better understand the flow on effects of these telecommunications outages.
  • People who travel from metropolitan areas to regional and rural regions are generally unprepared for a natural disaster while travelling, including from a telecommunications perspective.
  • Overall, residents and travellers generally share the same concerns about losing telecommunications during a natural disaster, with the most common concerns being access to information, being able to call for help and contacting loved ones.

Since the market research was finalised, the Department has been working with relevant Commonwealth, state and territory emergency management agencies, community and industry stakeholders in disseminating information and resources.

More information


Market research—natural disasters and telecommunications

Published 18th Dec 2020

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This report outlines the research approach and key findings from market research conducted on the community’s understanding and preparedness for a telecommunications outage during an emergency or natural disaster. This document has been prepared by a third party and may not meet WCAG 2.0 requirements. Please email for an accessible copy.