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AARNet News - Purple
01 May, 2024

AARNet awarded government funding for disaster resilience project

The project involves upgrading the power infrastructure at optical repeater sites in regional and remote Australia.

AARNet is pleased to be a recipient of the Albanese Government's Telecommunications Disaster Resilience Innovation (TDRI) program funding announced today.

Rural, regional, remote and First Nations communities will benefit from projects that deliver more resilient telecommunications networks during natural disasters, thanks to new funding delivered through the TDRI program.

AARNet will receive funding under the Power Resilience Round, which is for solutions to strengthen the resilience of telecommunications services against the impacts of power outages—the leading cause of telecommunications outages during natural disasters.

The funding will support AARNet’s Wind Power, Battery, Solar Installation and Upgrade Project. The project involves upgrading the power infrastructure at 27 optical repeater sites, known as Controlled Environment Vaults (CEVs) managed by AARNet in regional and remote areas Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales.

These CEVs are vital for providing AARNet’s telecommunications services to customers in capital cities, as well as regional and remote locations, and for the mobile providers using AARNet infrastructure. Since reliable power is crucial for CEV operations, the new funding will allow AARNet to install standalone power solutions at these sites.

AARNet CEO Chris Hancock said this upgrade will reduce the reliance on grid power, minimising the risk of network service disruptions during power outages caused by disasters like fires or floods.

“Our plan is to improve the power resilience of our CEV sites by adding additional power sources—wind, solar or generator, depending on the site. These upgrades will make us more resilient to grid outages to ensure our network stays up and running,” he said.

Additionally, there will be an environmental benefit in the form of reduced carbon emission at sites where solar or wind power are installed.

AARNet is Australia’s national research and education network, providing a range of telecommunications, cyber security and collaboration services to meet the specialised needs of the research and education sector across Australia.

Read the media release from Office of the Minister for Communications