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Canberra needs to make use of a nationwide messaging system to alert residents about emergencies

The Australian authorities has gone to market to discover a supplier to assist develop a standalone end-to-end cell broadcast nationwide messaging system (NMS) that can be utilized to ship textual content messages to cellular units throughout emergencies, similar to a pure catastrophe.

In accordance with the Division of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Growth and Communications, Australia’s state and territories at the moment use a location-based-SMS (LB-SMS) system to offer warnings to focused people, nonetheless, its efficacy is proscribed.

These messages are delivered by the Emergency Administration Australia (EMA) on behalf of the Commonwealth, in addition to state and territory emergency companies to the Australian public throughout nationwide occasions of concern.

“Whereas LB-SMS supplies an a variety of benefits, together with the gathering of information when a cellular machine receives a message, its effectiveness may be restricted by community congestion and different variables,” the division mentioned.

“Throughout instances of peak exercise, similar to a pure catastrophe, people could not have the ability to obtain messaging as a consequence of congestion, though advances in expertise are assuaging this constraint.”

The division believes a cell broadcast, however, will allow people to be focused primarily based on their bodily location to a cell tower, no matter their handset.

“Cell broadcast is a point-to-area communication between the cellular operator radio cell tower(s) and all hand-held units in a specified geographic space … cell broadcast can be geo-specific and geo-scalable, enabling people to be focused domestically, regionally, or throughout the nation,” it added.

Outlined within the tender paperwork, the division mentioned the NMS wanted to have the ability to ship textual content messages, warnings, and alerts in close to real-time, and that it ought to have the potential to ship “richer data”, together with longer textual content messages, photographs, URLs, maps, movies or a hyperlink to a different medium.

Messages which can be despatched utilizing cell broadcast expertise must also not trigger, nor be impacted by community congestion, the division mentioned.

Additional, the division mentioned the supply channel expertise has the power geofence so it may be used to geographically goal particular areas of the group.

On the identical time, the NMS must have safety mechanisms in place to forestall hacking and spoofing of warning and alert messages and be produced as a one-way message that doesn’t require recipient information to be saved.

Delivering an NMS varieties a part of the Australian authorities’s dedication to addressing findings uncovered by the Royal Fee into nationwide pure catastrophe preparations. The Royal Fee concluded that Australia’s data and warning methods expertise wanted to be improved to assist ship messages shortly and alert the general public of rising and imminent threats.

The division additional famous the COVID-19 pandemic has “strengthened public expectations of, and the necessity for the Australian Authorities to play a higher position throughout nation-wide disasters, emergencies and disaster occasions”.

“A nationwide functionality is required to help the supply of messages to your complete nation throughout such occasions. This was highlighted by the numerous guide effort to rearrange nationwide COVID-19 messaging, which might have been circumvented by a cell broadcast messaging system,” it mentioned.

Tender submissions shut 9 September 2021. The preliminary contract phrases are for 3 years from January 2022 to January 2025, with the choice of a one-year extension.

Final Could, the federal authorities mentioned it will spend AU$37.1 million to enhance the resiliency of the nation’s telco infrastructure within the wake of the 2020 Black Summer time bushfires.

A report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) mentioned solely 3% of cellular tower outages from 19 December 2019 to 31 January 2020 in the course of the bushfire peak, had been as a consequence of fireplace harm, and of the 1,390 whole services that had been impacted by the fires, just one% of incidents had been a direct results of fireplace harm. Lack of energy was the principle explanation for outages, being accountable for 88% of all outages over the identical interval.

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