News

Co-investment bid pushes to get NBN rollout up to top speed

REGIONAL Development Australia Northern Rivers wants co-investment in the NBN allowed, in a bid to roll out local infrastructure faster.

A submission sent by the RDA to the Department of Communications broadband cost-benefit analysis panel, titled Review Of Regulatory Arrangements For The National Broadband Network, spells out the request in no uncertain terms.

The seven-page submission also calls for an equitable NBN cost for Northern Rivers residents, comparable to metropolitan Australia, and notes fast tracking the high speed internet service is critical for the area.

OPINION: Northern Rivers internet services are in dire need of an overhaul and this is the best option on the table

"To progress fast-tracked access to NBN-speed broadband, Northern Rivers business, local councils and individuals have expressed a willingness to co-invest with government, working with private sector providers to build critical infrastructure," the submission states.

"To enable this to happen, changes are required to remove all the bottlenecks and artificial barriers that prevent the region accessing existing optical fibre infrastructure and gaining access to NBN-speeds and NBN pricing.

"We recommend appropriate changes in legislation, regulation and policy to encourage private sector providers to be licensed to install the required new infrastructure, access existing and new infrastructure, and that markets be opened for national and local RSPs (retail service providers) to access backhaul capacity at NBN standard pricing."

The new chief executive of Regional Development Australia Northern Rivers, Kimmaree Thompson, said she considered fast and reliable internet the "backbone" of the region's economic future.

"At the moment we have businesses that can't move to this region because they can't access broadband," Ms Thompson, who started in the role in January, said.

"It's very difficult to service clients in Sydney let alone overseas when your internet can't even handle Skype.

"The ADSL1 currently available is almost equivalent to dial-up from a business perspective."

RDA added that the "lack of modern commercial-grade broadband" was impacting on the region's economic resilience, saying it "has progressively driven prime age adults out of the Northern Rivers".

The submission makes it clear a quick rollout of the NBN is essential for businesses, especially those relying on national communications and sales.

OPINION: RDA plan is ambitious but it's the best plan we've got

REGIONAL Development Australia - Northern Rivers' proposal to bring decent broadband internet to the region is plausible but will require a whole-hearted acceptance by the Federal Government to succeed.

At the risk of over-simplification, the proposal is:

  • for the government to bring parts of Telstra's infrastructure into the National Broadband Network early;
  • force the telco to allow local internet service providers access to that infrastructure at NBN prices (Telstra will let them access it now, but at a much higher rate); and
  • allow private contractors to do whatever work is required to connect businesses and, so long as they're at it, homes.

Given the intensity of the wrangling involved in getting access to Telstra's copper network and pipes, the proposal is ambitious - maybe even optimistic given this government's stance to the RDAs.

However, Northern Rivers internet services are in dire need of an overhaul and this is the best option on the table.

A report in this week's Star on a Goonellabah resident who was told, jokingly, he would have to wait for someone to die to get an ADSL2+ connection, has triggered a storm of comments from readers complaining about their internet connections. It's worth noting, the region's dodgy internet has nothing to do with the Coalition's planned changes to the NBN. Under the original plan developed under Labor we were still going to have to wait of years - possibly another decade - for decent broadband to reach the Northern Rivers.

And while it may not come as a shock to hear places such as Bonalbo have a lousy connection, it is a surprise to hear some new housing estates are also going without good internet.

There are new estates going up across the Northern Rivers. However, the only four of those - Tallowood at Mullumbimby, Wollongbar Park, a small section of Ballina Heights, and the Seabreeze Estate at Pottsville - have full NBN access. The remainder, mostly because they were approved before rules requiring new estates to be connected to the NBN were put in place, are going up with the mixed-bag of ADSL, wireless and satellite internet so familiar to most Northern Rivers residents.

At a time when so much of our lives - work, education, communications, shopping, entertainment - depend on the internet, the mixed-bag approach to internet services no longer works. The internet unlike, say, TV, is no longer a luxury item and Reliable, fast, affordable connections are essential.

The RDA's proposal offers the best and surest path to this - now all we need is for the Federal Government to recognise that and to back the proposal with words, action and investment.

Topics:  internet national broadband network nbn regional development australia northern rivers



Super school parking plan will cause chaos: Councillor warns

An artist's impression of the new Ballina high school.

Traffic congestion imminent in Ballina CBD if changes aren't made

WATCH: Extreme idiocy on Lismore roads

This P plater was caught on dashcam going at ridiculous speeds.

Not once but twice, an L-plater had to endure shocking driving

GALLERY: Retired truckie gutted by damage to retro van

Tony Baker is calling for public help in identifying the vandals who destroyed his van.

"A little bit of pride in your town doesn't go astray"

Local Partners

Novel with lots of heart

Be transported to another world with A Quiet Kind of Thunder

Bliss N Eso announce tribute show for stuntman

Bliss N Eso will play a tribute show at Coolangatta in honour of Johann Ofner. The stuntman died during the filming of the group's Friend Like You film clip earlier this year.

BLISS N Eso to play tribute show to raise funds for killed stuntman

Neil Finn to headline Bluesfest

Neil Finn, of Crowded House fame, will play in Byron Bay with his wife Sharon and their band The Pyjama Club on June 11.

DON'T dream, it's not over, Neil Finn to hit the stage

MOVIE REVIEW: Trainspotting sequel as good as original

Ewen Bremner in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

Director Danny Boyle proves sequels can be done well.

How Karl Stefanovic's wife, kids found out about girlfriend

Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough after their day on Sydney Harbour. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Pictures splashed across tabloid were shock to family

Julie trumpets her career in music

MAKE SOME NOISE: Julie Payne played trumpet in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for 27 years and is retiring. She grew up in Casino.

"She has the potential to become a first-class instrumentalist.”

WATCH: Toowoomba opera hopeful's incredible voice

Kaitlyn Orange attends Opera Queensland auditions at Empire Theatres for Opera at Jimbour, Saturday, February 18, 2017.

Opera hopefuls vie for parts in performance at Jimbour House

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

Proposed $21 million airpark in holding pattern

A front view of the proposed new aviation museum at Evans Head.

Late businessman's dream on hold ... for now

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!