NBN to by­pass bush town

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Liam But­ter­worth liam. but­ter­worth@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

T H E N B N c a b l e r u n s through their back yard, but res­i­dents of the west­ern town of Ju­lia Creek won’t be able to ac­cess the high-speed broad­band many peo­ple will take for granted.

The town has been con­sid­ered too small to re­ceive fi­bre broad­band de­spite the main transit link run­ning un­der­neath its streets.

McKin­lay Shi r e Mayor Paul Wood­house is dis­ap­pointed the town’s health pro­fes­sion­als, stu­dents and small busi­nesses won’t be able to take ad­van­tage of the ben­e­fits. ‘‘ We’re be­ing more dis­ad­van­taged be­cause we’re too small,’’ he said.

But NBN Co. said the town would still be el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive fast in­ter­net by satel­lite.

Rhonda Grif­fin, com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager for NBN Co., said towns with more than 1000 premises have been in­cluded in the fi­bre net­work de­sign and there would be sev­eral other towns a l o ng t r a ns i t l i nes t hat would miss out.

She com­pared it to a longdis­tance high volt­age ca­bles.

‘‘ Our net­work de­liv­ers the large transit links to hubs which branch into a dis­tri­bu­tion net­work,’’ she said.

‘‘ It’s not just a mat­ter of putting off a lit­tle branch line.’’

Ms Grif­fin said the cost of con­nect­ing a town was in­creased by build­ing fur­ther in­fra­struc­ture, and there was an op­por­tu­nity for com­mu­ni­ties to fund this them­selves.

‘‘ It’s not just the cost of con­nect­ing the town up, it’s get­ting the sup­port in­fra­struc­ture, elec­tronic equip­ment and cut­ting into the fi­bre,’’ she said.

Ms Grif­fin added that com­mu­ni­ties could fund the in­cre­men­tal cost of con­nect­ing to the net­work, as that work was not part of the ‘‘ de­sign cri­te­ria we have’’.

Cr Wood­house said the com­mu­nity’s pop­u­la­tion of around 500 ( shire pop­u­la­tion around 1100) shouldn’t come into it and the coun­cil had writ­ten to the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Stephen Con­roy.

He said the town’s doc­tors would be able to speak with spe­cial­ists in larger cities while the stu­dents could ac­cess the lat­est in­for­ma­tion quicker.

‘‘ The Prime Min­is­ter has said that all Aus­tralians would have equal ac­cess and this is fly­ing in the face of this,’’ Cr Wood­house said.

The f i bre net­work will cover 93 per cent of t he nation’s homes, with the other 7 per cent ser­viced by wire­less or satel­lite in­ter­net.

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