If premises with an Automatic Fire Alarm (AFA), with connection to the Managed Fire Alarm Services (MFAS) are activated, the MFS dispatches an immediate fire service response on receipt of an alarm signal.
Historically, AFAs utilised Telstra’s copper network which was superseded by the use of the 3G network.
The MFS and Telstra entered into an agreement whereby Telstra would supply, install and maintain Alarm Signalling Equipment (ASE) and associated dual mobile network connection to the MFS. This agreement is known as the Monitored Fire Alarm Service (MFAS).
The 3G network will soon become redundant.
Telstra and MFS identified this issue early and created a solution that will provide coverage for 4G and 5G, now and in the future.
A deed of variation was signed in December 2020, enabling this upgrade, and extending MFAS for a further five years. By acting early, the next generation ASEs can be installed and functioning well before 3G end of life. It also provides the opportunity to maximise the life of the new ASE.
MFAS version 2.0 will still use dual mobile carriers and there will be no transition cost associated with this process, as long as the installation is performed during the transition period.
What Happens now?
Telstra will provide further information with your next MFAS bill, including details about completing an electronic MFAS Transition form. Once this form is submitted, Telstra will then arrange a date for installation of the new device.
The previous Alarm Transponder Unit (ATU) to Alarm Signalling Equipment (ASE) migration in 2010 involved clients having to arrange installation of the fire line themselves and engage a fire contractor to obtain and install the replacement ASE device.
The new migration (due to the NBN roll-out) will be handled by Telstra as part of the establishment of the Managed Fire Alarm System (MFAS). Telstra will purchase the new generation ASE devices and will be responsible for installing them, together with the establishment of the new monitoring network to incorporate a second mobile network connection.
Telstra has contracted KABB Services to co-ordinate the installation of the new generation ASE devices throughout the metropolitan and regional areas, utilising a group of installation technicians.
A standard ASE changeover where appropriate signal strength is available from both mobile networks (Telstra and Optus) will incorporate a new ASE and additional antenna.
Where only one mobile network signal is available, a second path will be engineered by Telstra network staff, who will choose from a number of NBN options, and arrange to install the appropriate additional equipment to enable the second monitoring path.
The timing of the ASE roll-out will generally be in step with the NBN roll-out. As an area is cabled for NBN, the installation team will swap the ASE’s in the Fire Panels and Sprinkler Systems in the same area. (Note that IP Fire Lines can be ‘quarantined’ from disconnection up until 30 June 2017, provided the PSTN Line No. is registered with the NBN).
Any client with an alarm monitored by the MFS will receive correspondence shortly from Telstra detailing these changes and an application which will need to be completed and returned to Telstra. Once the application is received, a client will be added to the Transition Program. A new generation ASE device and installation will be provided at no cost, provided the application is returned within the period nominated. Following installation and commissioning, a new account will be created, which will show an ongoing monthly charge to cover ASE rental and access to the Managed Fire Alarm System (MFAS).
MFS issued correspondence in relation to this in August 2016 informing clients of the current status of the project and actions needed to ensure their currently monitored fire alarm is transitioned to the new Fire Alarm Monitoring Network.
In 2015, when the National Broadband Network (NBN) roll-out’s impact on fire alarm monitoring became evident, the MFS investigated NBN connectivity and alternative alarm monitoring solutions using alternative technologies, in response to the following media release.
As the National Broadband Network (NBN) rolls out across Australia, Telstra’s existing fixed line networks are being progressively disconnected. Monitored fire alarms and lift phones operating over these networks will cease to operate unless they are migrated to the NBN or another platform before the disconnection date for their rollout region. It is important that you register your services and make early arrangements for their migration. Migration does not happen automatically.
Fire alarms and lift phones are safety-critical services and there are serious public safety, personal injury and property damage risks if they fail to operate in an emergency situation. In recognition of this, the Australian Government, NBN Co Limited (nbn), Telstra, and the monitored fire alarm and lift phone industries, have developed a framework to support the migration of these services. Under the framework, the disconnection date for identified and registered monitored fire alarm and lift phone services will be deferred until 30 June 2017, so that their migration can be managed.
As a result of those investigations and in conjunction with Romteck Australia, (the manufacturer of the ASE which is currently in use) and telecommunication providers, it was decided to pursue an alternative monitoring solution that would make the transition away from copper IP lines as simple as possible.
This alternative solution utilises mobile technology from separate mobile networks to provide diverse pathways to cater for redundancy and comply with Australian Standard AS1670.31.
A new generation ASE device incorporating dual SIMs will be utilised to access this new dual path alarm monitoring network.
It was decided that where appropriate signal strength is available, this dual mobile solution will be the first choice.
Where suitable signal strength is not available from two separate mobile networks, one mobile network path and an alternate path using NBN or similar technology will be arranged)
Following an application to the ACCC based upon critical Public Safety interest, and negotiation with Telstra (the current contract holder), a Deed of Variation was signed with Telstra to extend the current Telstra contract. The variation requires Telstra to establish maintain and operate a Managed Fire Alarm System (MFAS) in conjunction with the Fire Services.
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQS will be reviewed and regularly updated.
No, this is all covered under your contract with Telstra. Just continue to pay your monthly MFAS Telstra bill.
Just wait for a letter from Telstra which includes a link to the “Transition Form”. After successfully filling in the Transition Form Telstra will be in touch regarding the installation of your new ASE.