NBN to bypass bush town
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.