Small communities in line for high-speed wireless connection

DON'T expect sizzling internet speeds to come to our district any time soon, but moves are afoot to provide Northern Rivers residents with the same service that is currently available in metro areas.

The company building Australia's National Broadband Network, NBN Co, announced yesterday that it has "started outlining plans" to provide wireless broadband to communities that don't have mobile phone access, such as Federal.

According to NBN spokesperson Rhonda Griffin, wireless services to smaller communities could be rolled out from the end of 2013 and before the end of 2015.

But residents in towns and villages with more than 1000 residents will have to wait for NBN Co to connect optic fibre cables to individual homes and businesses.

That might not happen until 2021 at the latest.

It is a big project, mind you, with 286,000km of cable to be laid, replacing the old copper network that has been in the ground in places since before the Second World War.

The key point, said NBN's Tony Gibbs, was the fact the wireless services on offer, subject to planning approvals, would offer access speeds equivalent to turning a one-lane by-way into a five-lane highway.

That means easier access to working from home, transferring medical files, monitoring elderly patients using sensory equipment. The cost is expected to be in the order of $30-$40 per month.

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