'Nerve centre' announced for Coffs

Pole position: Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin congratulates SCU professor Peter Croll who has pushed for a National Broadband Network in the Coffs Harbour region.
Pole position: Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin congratulates SCU professor Peter Croll who has pushed for a National Broadband Network in the Coffs Harbour region. Marc Stapelberg

WE will be browsing the web in 3D, making video phone calls without a second thought, and streaming high-definition TV through the internet once the National Broadband Network hits the North Coast, the academic at the centre of the push to get the network here first has said.

However, even if we make it to the front of the queue, the network remains years away, Page MP Janelle Saffin has warned.

This week saw a big step forward in the campaign to have the North Coast, from the Great Lakes to the Tweed, among the first to get the full network with the announcement of a ‘nerve centre’ at Coffs Harbour.

The announcement does not guarantee the North Coast a spot at the front of the queue, but keeps us in the running.

Think of it as making it through an early World Cup knockout round.

When the network does arrive Professor Peter Croll, of Southern Cross University’s School of Commerce and Management, said it would represent a shift greater than the move, early this decade, from dial-up to broadband. It would also pave the way for another shift in speeds orders of greater magnitude.

The network will provide speeds of up to 100 megabits a second – about 66 times faster than a standard ADSL connection. However, in the future it could allow speeds of 1 gigabit a second – 10 times faster again.

Dr Croll said the change would revolutionise the internet. New 3D applications, including 3D video, could be streamed through the web, file storage could be done in an internet ‘cloud’, making hard-drives irrelevant, high definition video conferencing and web-based applications for home and business could be used as seamlessly as the programs now saved on your personal computer.

Dr Croll said the enthusiasm for the network would help the North Coast’s bid to be first, along with the fact much of the fibre-optic cable needed for it was already laid, following much of the Pacific Highway.

Ms Saffin said she was lobbying hard to get the network here first, but the project was a big one and would take a long time to complete.

The other thing helping was a commitment by the Government to do the regions ahead of the capital cities, in recognition of the fact the cities already had good internet access.

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