We’re in with a chance
Thursday, 15th March, 2012
Hopes city will be on next NBN rollout
By Erica Visser
Broken Hill will know whether it will be included in the next rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) by the end of the month.
The company responsible for delivering the Federal Government initiative, NBN Co, is expected to announce a three-year rollout plan in the coming weeks.
Preparations for the $36 billion project have already began in some areas, however it will be 10 years before it is completed nationally.
Representatives for NBN Co visited the Far West late last month when local advocates pitched the importance of the project for the region.
Regional Development Australia (RDA) Far West CEO, Linda Nadge, said that the NBN was vital to the city’s future.
Ms Nadge said the representatives were “taking the region seriously” as a result of their visit.
“We had local business people and health and education sector people as well as the RDA committee talking about why it’s important for us and they had a pretty informative time,” she said.
“We had initiatives regarding tourism and from the Film Studio and the University Department of Rural Health who spoke about bringing more students out.
“We had a wonderful time and they were really supportive and said they were really excited for us.”
Ms Nadge said that while the city appeared to be in with a chance, there was fierce competition from other regions.
“They really have respect for what we’ve done and we’re one of the few regions where they’ve visited,” Ms Nadge said.
“We’ve had other RDAs ring us up quite a lot and ask how we did it.
“But really they can’t guarantee us. All we can do at this point is cross our fingers and hope.
“But we have done a very good job in promoting the region and the reasons why we need access to the NBN.
“They were really blown away by our Digital Economy Strategy.”
The Far West NSW Digital Economy Strategy is a set of goals developed with City Council to ensure the region takes advantage of online services and opportunities.
The strategy’s aims include appointing a full-time project officer to direct the an ‘NBN rollout group’, get advice on how best to assist the NBN and to prepare a plan for NBN-funded education for the broader community.
Last week Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy announced that an $11 billion deal had been made with Telstra to shut down its fixed copper lines and switch customers to a fibre-optic cable network.
Senator Conroy said that the agreement would be underpinned in this month’s rollout announcement.
“The delivery of Telstra’s infrastructure information under the agreements removes one of the last impediments for the full-scale rollout of the NBN, allowing NBN Co to continue ramping up construction activity,” he said.
“This will mean the reuse of existing infrastructure, avoiding infrastructure duplication and resulting in less disruption for communities.”