From CSIRO -Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) : “Building resilient telecommunications infrastructure”

CSIRO bloc

From CSIRO -Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU)

21 July 2021

Ms Helen Beringen
Communication Manager
Tel +61 7 3833 5945
Fax +61 4 3733 8298

Australia’s national science agency-CSIRO-and Optus have released findings of a joint nationwide project to improve bushfire resilience of critical telecommunications.

The research analysed where there is risk of damage to the network and where upgrades could reduce vulnerability to future bushfire events.

Since mid-2020, CSIRO and Optus have collaborated on a study of the potential impacts of embers, radiation and flame on and around Optus’ sites with telecommunications equipment. These learnings have been used to assess which sites were most at risk, and the priority site design changes.

Information on topography, fuel load, vegetation type and local bushfire weather severity was used to develop maps which then inform resiliency decisions for this critical infrastructure.

Optus is implementing the recommended mitigations at two of its sites in Victoria: Seville East and Dixons Creek, as reference examples for a larger, longer-term resiliency program and also to act as demonstration sites to help other infrastructure owners understand the learnings.

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This map shows how Optus infrastructure, such as the pictured Dixon’s Creek Site in Victoria, is assessed for fire threat or building loss potential. Each coloured dot shows the level of hazard that location presents to the Optus infrastructure in the centre of the image. Locations are analysed for ember, radiant and flame threat, with the red dots showing the highest threat due to vegetation, proximity and slope at those locations. Locations with green dots may still pose some risk to bushfire, but don’t pose as much of a threat to the infrastructure. © Optus.

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Optus infrastructure at Dixon’s Creek in Victoria.

“Optus continuously aims to improve our network’s resilience as we know communities rely heavily on our services, especially during natural disasters and extreme weather events,” said Lambo Kanagaratnam, Optus Managing Director Network.

“Our collaboration with CSIRO has provided us with the analysis to allow us to target the best ways to protect the network where it could be most vulnerable.”

These bushfire hazard and planning maps are early examples of the types of products being developed by CSIRO’s National Bushfire Intelligence Capabilities (NBIC) project which is seeking to develop relevant bushfire hazard mapping products for a wide range of infrastructure types ranging from residential housing to critical infrastructure.

In addition to using the findings to identify and invest in the most impactful upgrades, Optus has developed in-house training and site assessment tools to increase employees’ awareness of the threat to landscape and improve response preparedness. It has started training its contractors to improve future design and builds, or to call out existing site concerns.

CSIRO has a 70-year history of conducting bushfire research to help Australia respond to a changing and variable climate and build the resilience of our nation.

“CSIRO has provided Optus with science and technology-based solutions that address a major threat facing all industries which rely on critical infrastructure: bushfires,” said Justin Leonard, CSIRO’s Research Leader for Bushfire Adaptation.

“The research can inform resiliency decisions across a number of industries, including telecommunications, energy and emergency services.”

Mr Kanagaratnam said Optus believed resiliency learnings and improvements was an area where organisations must work together, exchange findings, and support each other for the greater benefit of all Australian communities.

“We’ll be working with our industry association, Communications Alliance, to arrange for Optus to share with other companies and organisations what we’ve learned through our work with CSIRO,” he said.

“A nationally consistent and authoritative bushfire hazard and risk information approach amongst telecommunication infrastructure parties would help ensure services are available at the times people need them the most.”

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CSIRO campus

CSIRO -Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) , is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

CSIRO works with leading organisations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organisation as CSIRO.

Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

Research and focus areas

Research Business Units

As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organised into the following Business Units:

Agriculture and Food
Health and Biosecurity
Data 61
Energy
Land and Water
Manufacturing
Mineral Resources
Oceans and Atmosphere

National Facilities

CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:

Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

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CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

Others not shown

SKA

SKA- Square Kilometer Array

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