Federal Page MP Janelle Saffin accepts the submission from SCU’s Professor Peter Croll.
Federal Page MP Janelle Saffin accepts the submission from SCU’s Professor Peter Croll.

North Coast lodges bid for NBN

LOBBYING began in earnest yesterday for North Coast residents to be some of the first to access the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network (NBN).

Researchers from Southern Cross University released their submission to the Federal Government, outlining the benefits of the North Coast adopting the new technology early in the roll-out.

The $43 billion network, which was announced last April by the Commonwealth, is designed to improve internet speeds for 90 per cent of the country.

Internet speeds will be improved by 10 to 20 times on current speeds by installing fibre optic cables to each household, which would rep-lace the current copper wire network used for telephone and internet connections.

With fibre optic cables already being laid in Tasmania as part of the network, it is hoped the submission released yesterday will sway the Federal Government to establish the network on the North Coast sooner rather than later.

Federal Page MP Janelle Saffin attended SCU in Lismore yesterday to accept the submission from the regional futures institute.

She submitted it electronically to Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy yesterday.

Ms Saffin said she was hopeful of getting a response from the Government on the submission in the next few months.

She said there were plenty of reasons why the North Coast’s 540,000 residents should have early access to the network.

“We have a large population living outside a metropolitan area,” she said.

“Our regional economy needs it to continue to develop and grow. Some of our economic development is held back by a lack of capacity in the broadband network.”

While Ms Saffin is keen for the research to make an impact, there is no guarantee it will ensure the North Coast moves up the pecking order for the broadband roll-out.

Prof Peter Croll, of SCU’s information technology and information systems, also argued strongly yesterday for the early provision of the NBN on the North Coast.

He said faster broadband speeds would improve essential service delivery like health and education.

“It’s the provision of a high-speed NBN that will make distances less important and help contain health care costs,” he said.

“Education will also be revolutionised by high-speed NBN. It will provide for a more equitable provision, regardless of how and where students study.”

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