mailing list archives
Re: East Coast Earthquake 8-23-2011 - comment and a bit of a Christchurch Telco report :)
From: Don Gould <don () bowenvale co nz>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2011 20:13:50 +1200
On 25/08/2011 12:18 p.m., Michael Painter wrote:
I assume so. I honestly don't know where the phones went exactly. Most
people still have a copper pots service here (though that is changing).
So the "old corded phones" were to be distributed to those who have
Kinda' off-topic, but what was the situation like regarding
radio/television coverage during the event?
First, I wouldn't consider that off topic given where our media and
internet is heading... :)
Radio - That was very interesting to observe. Clearly radio stations
don't have disaster broadcast plans in place for content. When you're
crying out for information about what's going on, the very last think
you want to hear is an inappropriate advert break. The number of
stations that kept broadcasting adverts for 'exciting things in
Christchurch' was un-nerving. It's my view that media news desks also
need to remember to listeners who are in the middle of the disaster area
and are hanging on every word of their 'emergency radio'. To hear that
my city is 'devastated by a MASSIVE earth quake and hundreds of people
have been killed' every 10 minutes in the 'over hyped' news reader voice
gets very alarming.
It was interesting to observe later in the day the whole tone of
broadcast changed. It seemed the media started to realise that this was
in fact a very serious disaster and not just something they could/should
beat up for ratings and ad revenues. Many stations are now all
broadcast out of Auckland (over 1000km away and completely unaffected by
We were told by health staff to stop watching and listen to the media
because of the potential PTSD impact.
The radio stations did mostly consolidate down to two main
transmissions. One local station was interesting to listen to as the
announcer almost refused to leave the building, stayed on air and
continued to take phone calls.
We have had one new local radio station establish as a result of the
quake. A group further down the country brought a caravan of equipment
and set up a temporary transmitter in the most impacted part of the
city. The result was so successful that the station has stayed on air.
TV coverage was amazing. Not only did we never loose TV (though that's
not much of a surprise as Christchurch is a flat plane at the foot of a
big hill, so there's 1 transmitter for the whole area), but the coverage
was very clearly edited. While people in the .us saw shots of cars with
dead bodies, we didn't see any dead people that I can recall and content
was very filtered. Clearly some very careful consideration was given in
the TV broadcast space.
Having said that, the presentation was still disturbing and running
almost 18 hours a day for a while, you have to turn off the TV.
But what was really the most interesting was www.press.co.nz. For weeks
it streamed a constant source of information that was far more up to
date that any other news source. The Press is the local news paper.
What is amazing is that their building was destroyed and staff were even
killed. Their ability to keep news flowing on to their web site was
just something else.
In my house the Press web site was our main source of information and it
was updated with a full range of stories faster than other media sites.
Impact on the media did become evident over the following two weeks.
One broadcaster simply lost the plot at one point. It became evident
that media presenters were becoming more effected by the disaster as
time went on. I can understand this. Being told "Hey, stand there...
because it will be a 'money shot'" takes some real guts when you
consider that 'there' is in front of a building that could fall on you
in the next aftershock.
Moving into an IPTV world is going to be very interesting in the
disaster space in my view. We currently have FTA DVB-T & S and still
have analogue transmission. So a 12volt inverter in your car and you
can keep watching media. But what's going to happen in an IPTV world
where most of the heavy data lifting is done via fibre?
Like many places around the world, consumers here are looking for 'more,
faster, cheaper'. Regulators are wanting 'more competitors'. 50 years
ago we had 1 provider with 1 TV channel. Today I have lost count of the
layer 1 providers in my area.
IP is our Future...
In my mind, IP is very clearly our future disaster proof technology if
it's used properly, or a disaster in it self if it's used incorrectly.
While I did loose text messaging, I never lost my telephone service or
email connection. My phone service is on VoIP. I have a client on my
mobile phone. So my service just transferred to my mobile even though
my home lost power. When the mobile data 3G net failed, I then flicked
to 2G GPRS data, then when that failed my power was back and we returned
to the HFC cable.
WIRELESS IS FASTER.
One thing I will note is that once you're all 'IP', wireless technology
becomes a much faster way of getting back on line. We had to relocate
over 50,000 workers out of the CBD. Many businesses have commented that
their only data choice was a point to point wireless solution. They
were very surprised to discover how quickly those services could be
commissioned and how much more performance they could get for the same
money they'd been paying for fixed line service delivery.
31 Acheson Ave
Christchurch, New Zealand
Ph: + 64 3 348 7235
Mobile: + 64 21 114 0699