Govt Fast-Track NBN Roll Out

The Federal Government has decided to fast-track the NBN service to regional Australia

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, has said that the government will fast-track the NBN roll out in regional Australia due to the lack of ISP competition in some of those areas.

“We are moving to immediately improve the competitive market in regional Australia and are fast-tracking a $250 million investment in backbone fibre optic transmission links,” Conroy said. “In parts of Australia particularly links connecting our rural and regional areas competition is limited as there is only a single provider of these services.”

The minister also released a stakeholder consultation paper to drive the regional backhaul initiative.

“High-speed broadband will revitalise our regions, provide new job opportunities, drive efficiency and improve the delivery of social services,” he said.”We want to work closely with all stakeholders and move quickly to make these investments.”

The ACCC has confirmed that places with only a single provider of backhaul services include: Geraldton in Western Australia, Mt Gambier in South Australia, Broken Hill in New South Wales, Mildura in Victoria, Mt Isa in Queensland, and Darwin in the Northern Territory.
This is an indicative list and the consultation provides stakeholders the opportunity to help identify and prioritise regional locations for investment. It also asks for comment on technical parameters associated with the rollout and arrangements for funding, the delivery of services and the ownership of the infrastructure.

Submissions to the consultation paper are due by Tuesday 12 May 2009. A competitive tender process will be commenced shortly after. Copies of the consultation paper are available online at: www.dbcde.gov.au

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