THE Bendigo Telstra exchange is under review following an incident that wiped out all phone and internet services – including 000 – in south-west Victoria last year.
A fire burnt the Warrnambool exchange in November, leaving about 100,000 services offline.
All local landline, mobile and internet services run through the Short Street exchange in Bendigo.
Telstra and the federal government are holding separate inquiries into the Warrnambool incident and are looking at ways to improve the main Bendigo exchange and four sub-exchanges.
A Telstra spokesman said the main exchange did not have a sprinkler system and that all aspects of all exchanges were being reviewed.
“It’s looking at all aspects of the way our exchanges are set up and the way the network operates, including fire prevention and mitigation,” he said.
“With water sprinklers, the water on our electronic equipment can cause more damage than the fire itself. As a network, the lines have to connect somewhere, so that’s the vulnerability of that system.
“There has to be a connection point, but that’s the reality, there’s no way around it.”
The spokesman said all exchanges had fire detection equipment.
“(The) exchanges have state-of-the-art smoke detection, alarming systems and other firefighting equipment installed that are linked not just to the Global Operations Centre, but also to the fire brigade,” he said.
The spokesman said 65,000 landline phones, 18,000 internet customers and about 70 mobile-based stations were knocked offline by the Warrnambool fire.
“The review is based primarily on the lessons we learnt in Warrnambool and how we can apply those across the country,” the spokesman said.
The Telstra review is expected to be finished by mid-February, and will be followed by the government review.