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City left off NBN list for third time

Tuesday, 2nd December, 2014

Federal MP Sussan Ley Federal MP Sussan Ley

By Darrin Manuel

More than 400 cities, towns and suburbs will receive the National Broadband Network in the coming months, but Broken Hill appears set to miss out for a third time.

The city was overlooked in 2012 and 2013 and it has again been snubbed in the latest round of scheduled installations.

Around 300,000 premises have been connected to the NBN in the four years since the rollout began, and a further 1.9 million premises are set to be connected in the next 19 months.

“Naturally, some people will be disappointed that they are not included in today’s schedule,” said NBN Co’s CEO Bill Morrow.

“But ultimately no-one misses out as the NBN will be made available to every Australian family and business by 2020.”

NBN intends to update their rollout plan every three months, and a broader three-year construction schedule is expected to be released in the next six months.

While in opposition in 2013, the Liberal Party said that a Coalition government would deliver the NBN to all homes by 2016 with speeds of at least 25 megabits per second.

Federal Member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, said it was now important to pinpoint where Broken Hill sits in the NBN Co’s plans, and improve on current issues with ADSL connections in the meantime.

“I would obviously like Broken Hill right at the top of the list, so yes I am disappointed, but more disappointed for some of our residents in South Broken Hill who are concerned their ADSL connection, if available at all, is not up to scratch,” she said.

“I am now planning to bring together both NBN Co and Telstra to Broken Hill this month to see what our options and alternatives are.

“The questions we need answered (are): If we are not on the list now, where are we and what is the timeline for this to occur?

“If that is still a few years away, what options do we have to help any under-served broadband areas in Broken Hill; for example, can we look at getting an NBN fixed wireless tower into this area?

“We also need to be asking what Telstra can do to ensure households have either a satisfactory ADSL or wireless service, particularly south of the lode.

“It’s my understanding the delay in getting an upgraded phone tower in North Broken Hill may be holding up better or improved mobile services across town.

“That’s something I want to talk to Council about; hopefully it’s a planning issue which can be resolved as soon as possible.”

When NBN infrastructure eventually arrives in the city, it is likely to take the form of ‘fibre to the node’, which mean broadband being delivered to the street and relying on Telstra’s copper network to reach homes and businesses.

Towns in the Far West, such as Silverton and Menindee, will receive satellite broadband.

Fibre to the node speeds are expected to range between 25 and 50 megabits per second while satellite broadband will be around 25mbps.

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