Speak up to ensure NBN roll-out

NORTHERN Rivers businesses are being urged to make their voices heard if they would like to see an early roll-out of the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network (NBN) across the region.

Regional Development Australia (RDA) Northern Rivers is currently collecting information in order to apply for the early roll-out of the broadband network – a network the Federal Government says will deliver high-speed broadband internet access to 93% of Australian homes by 2020.

The network will use a fibre-optic cable network that the government says will deliver speeds of up to 100 megabits per second, which is many times the speed of most broadband connections currently available.

Christine Pauling, regional development officer of RDA Northern Rivers, said the technology represented an incredible opportunity for businesses and said getting NBN services on the Northern Rivers early would be a boon for the area, both for the business sector and also for the community as a whole.

But she said in order to build a solid case for an early roll-out, RDA Northern Rivers was exploring the supply and demand expectations of the NBN in the area.

“There is a lack of information about regional broadband needs, current demand, gaps and impacts on current business operations and performance,” Ms Pauling said.

“There is significant anecdotal information regarding issues and opportunities. However, more detailed market information is required for the region to develop and present a strong business case for broadband investment.”

Ms Pauling said in order to understand the demand, businesses from around the Northern Rivers were being invited to participate in an online survey which could be found on www.rdanorthernrivers.org.au.

She said many communities were seeking an early roll-out and believed the Northern Rivers could present a strong case given the number of industries, such as the creative, educational and fin-ancial sectors, which could benefit from access to the technology.

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