The Hon. Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communications

“Service staff from the telcos - with support in the field from emergency services personnel and the Australian Defence Force - have worked long hours in difficult circumstances to keep networks running, and to fix network outages as quickly as possible.

“By the end of the week, the majority of base stations were restored - but around thirty were still out of service.

“Where a base station has been damaged, network operators can install a temporary facility, called a "cell on wheels", to provide an interim mobile service. In recent days Telstra has deployed these temporary facilities in Mallacoota, Corryong and Walwa in Victoria.

“Telstra's work to equip many of its payphones as Wi-Fi hotspots has offered another important option in towns where the mobile network was down - allowing people with Wi-Fi equipped mobile handsets to get connectivity near those payphones.

“We have seen some great work done by our network operators in responding to these severe bushfires - but we must not shy away from asking if we could be even better prepared in future.”