Category: News

COVID-19 Telecommunications Network Issues Australia

COVID-19 Telecommunications Network Issues Australia

The Personal Emergency Response Services Limited (PERSL) is the Australian peak body representing manufacturers, suppliers, monitoring services and consumers of 24/7 monitored Medical Alarms and Personal Response Services (PRS) throughout Australia.

PERSL members have reported a reduction in the quality of telecommunications services during the recent Corona-19 pandemic. This reduction appears to be affecting all networks, including 3G/4G wireless and NBN data and voice services, and is putting at risk Australia’s vulnerable PERS users and their ability to get effective emergency support as required.

Although new networks implemented by the telecommunication industry for residential customers are ‘best efforts’ networks, the current level of disruption is unprecedented.

It is very likely the service issues experienced by PERSL members are related to both the increased volume of network traffic over the past few weeks and a gradual reduction in 3G coverage. The effect experienced is that during periods of network congestion a PERS alarm call to a monitoring centre may not be successful and, although the medical alarm will retry many times, there may be a long delay in a user receiving assistance. This has the potential for serious outcomes for vulnerable Australians.

These impacts are being experienced across all areas and regions – from Residential and Aged Care facilities through to users in their own homes utilising 3G cellular services, including alarms upgraded from PSTN to 3G as part of the NBN coordinated MASS scheme.

Vulnerable Australians need to have confidence that they can use their medical alarm and contact their monitoring service provider when they need to, without telecommunication service interruption or delays. Please be assured that PERSL members are working closely with the telecommunication industry to address these issues.

For more information please access the latest information on the PERSL Web site or contact your monitoring service provider directly for support and assistance.

PERS (Personal Emergency Response Service) impact summary

– Australian PERS users should be aware that 3G/4G cellular and residential NBN services, provided by Telstra and other telecommunication industry providers, are based on new “best effort” technologies and do not have a guaranteed Quality of Service.

– It is likely that the current intermittent service disruptions due to telecommunication network congestion will be reduced when network usage reduces to pre-COVID-19 levels. At this time it is not possible to predict when this may be.

– PERSL is in the process of reporting the above issues to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and is working closely with the telecommunications industry around the immediate impact of COVID-19.

COVID-19 Telecommunications Network Issues – Medical Alarm Industry Statement – PERSL

3G Network Shutdown impacts Medical Alarms in Australia

3G Network Shutdown impacts Medical Alarms in Australia

The Personal Emergency Response Services Limited (PERSL) is the Australian peak body representing manufacturers, suppliers, monitoring services and consumers of 24/7 monitored Medical Alarms and Personal Response Services (PRS) throughout Australia.

PERSL members are reporting issues with the coverage of the existing 3G mobile wireless network. Although Telstra are not planning on turning off the 3G network until mid-2024, and other carriers are yet to make an announcement, PERSL members are reporting that 3G services appear to be degrading across Australia.

It has also been reported to PERSL members that the 5G network roll-out is adversely affecting the performance of the existing 3G networks coverage and capacity.

PERS (Personal Emergency Response Service) impact summary

– Australian PERS users should be aware that 3G/4G cellular networks are “best effort” networks and do not have a guaranteed Quality of Service.

– The coverage and capacity of 3G networks will be increasingly impacted leading up to network shutdown. PERS alarms should be upgraded, prior to the shutdown, to newer technologies including 4G.

– Medical alarms that use the 3G network should be used with care. 3G medical alarms should be upgraded or replaced as soon as practicable and, in any case, well in advance of the 3G shut-down.

– The life-span of a medical alarm is now significantly shorter than it was in years past due to the rapid change to telecommunication services within Australia.

3G Wireless Network Shutdown – Medical Alarm Industry Statement

PERSL Members – Essential Service – COVID-19

PERSL Members – Essential Service – COVID-19

PERSL – COVID-19 – Essential Service

PERSL Chairman Phil Wait on behalf of PERSL Members submitted to State and Federal Health and Emergency Service Ministers the request for confirmation that PERSL members were classified as an Essential Services in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

PERSL is the Australian peak body representing manufacturers, suppliers, monitoring services and consumers of 24/7 monitored Medical Alarms and Personal Response Services (PRS).

We wish to draw your attention to the fact that medical monitoring services need to continue to operate during this emergency in order to protect aged and at-risk persons in the community.

PERSL requests that all companies involved in the provision of medical alarm services in Australia be classed as an Essential Service.

PERSL – COVID-19 – Essential Service

What to do when the National Broadband Network (NBN) is connected to your home

What to do when the National Broadband Network (NBN) is connected to your home

Step 1

Contact your medical alarm service provider.

  1. Advise your medical alarm service provider that you are going to be connected to the NBN, and when you expect this to happen.
  2. Ask your medical alarm service which telecommunications providers (e.g.,Telstra, Optus or another provider) will support their medical alarm.
  3. Ask if there are any specific instructions you need to give to the telecommunications provider.
  4. Ask your medical alarm service about when and how to test your alarm after the NBN is connected.

Step 2

Contact your telecommunications provider.

  1. When you speak to your telecommunications service provider (e.g.Telstra, Optus) about the NBN, tell them you have a medical alarm.
  2. Ask your provider to: Confirm that a technician from the telecommunications provider will visit your premises to install and test the NBN service, including the cabling to your alarm. It is suggested that you also ask if there will be a charge for any extra work that may be required to fix cabling issues. Confirm that the NBN connection includes a back-up battery so that it continues to work during power outages.

If the provider cannot confirm the above it is recommended that you: 1. do not enter into any agreement or contract 2. contact your medical alarm service provider for further advice.

Step 3

Information for the NBN Co and telecommunications technicians.

When the NBN Co technician arrives at your home: Tell the technician you want the NBN box to be installed in a convenient location in the premises near the incoming telephone line, (the existing exchange line).

When then telecommunications technician arrives at your home: 1. Tell the technician that you have a medical alarm and it needs to b econnected to the new service. 2. Test your medical alarm before the technician leaves the premises, (follow the testing instructions from your alarm service provider).

If you are not comfortable that your alarm is working correctly on the NBN service then, ask the technician to reconnect the telephone and alarm to the original service until the problem is resolved.

In this case, contact your medical alarm service and telecommunications provider for further assistance).

Download PERSL NBN brochure

PERSL supports the Medical Alarms Register

PERSL supports the Medical Alarms Register

The Personal Response Services Limited (PERSL) represents manufacturers, service providers, and consumers of Personal Emergency Response Systems, commonly known as Medical Alarms.

PERSL has been working very closely with NBN Co., and the telecommunications companies, to ensure that the transition from the old copper based network to the NBN is as smooth and trouble free as possible, for all people with medical alarms.

PERSL supports the establishment of a register of medical alarms users, administered by NBN Co.  The register is important to allow NBN Co. and the telecommunications companies to provide the best possible assistance to people who rely on medical alarms for their personal safety.

To join the medical alarm register call 1800 227 300, or complete the on-line form at www.nbnco.com.au/medicalregister .

Even if you only have a voice-only telephone service, and do not have the internet, it is important that you register.

In addition to registering, monitored medical alarm users should contact their medical alarm company well before the NBN is to be connected to their home. Their medical alarm company will assist them during the transition process, and will confirm that their alarm is working properly when connected to the NBN.

Phil Wait

Chair, Personal Response Services Limited (PERSL)

Connecting Medical Alarms to the NBN

Connecting Medical Alarms to the NBN

The National Broadband Network (the NBN) is planned to provide a high-speed optical fibre connection to 93% of Australians, with the remaining 7% in non-urban areas served by a lower speed wireless or satellite service.

If built as proposed, the NBN will ultimately replace the copper network and looks set to obsolete all other public fixed-line telecommunications networks in Australia.

Medical alarms supplied by PERSL members are expected to work correctly when connected to the NBN.

However the battery back-up time on the NBN is very short, and will only work for a few hours during a power failure in customer’s premises.

It is also vitally important that your NBN customer equipment is set-up correctly to work with your medical alarm, and that your selected Retail Service Provider (RSP) can support that set-up.

If the NBN is rolling-out in your area, call your medical alarm service provided BEFORE YOU SIGN ANY CONTRACT FOR THE NBN SERVICE.

Your medical alarm service provider will assist you to select an RSP that is likely to support the continued operation of your medical alarm over the NBN.