REPRESENTATIVES from Wheatbelt shires were in Northam last Tuesday to hear about the roll out of the federal government’s National Broadband Network (NBN).
The group learned when and where the roll out would take place in the Wheatbelt region, with work starting in the next year for the shires of Northam and Toodyay and within three years for Cunderdin, York and Beverley.
According to the NBN Co website, the NBN is “Australia's first national wholesale-only, open access communications network that is being built to bring high speed broadband and telephone services within the reach of all Australian premises.”
This network comprises of three technologies – fibre, fixed wireless and satellite – which will enable premises across the country to have access to internet speeds of up to 12MB, depending on location.
As the point of connect on the loop from the Bentley depot in Perth, work for Northam will start in May next year and is expected to be complete within 12 months.
Beverley and York, as part of the fibre optic loop out of the “super-exchange” at Katanning, will not see work start until June 2015.
A number of shire representatives were eager to know whether all residents would receive the same level of service, considering a number were living in rural residential blocks away from town centres.
NBN Co utility and carrier interface senior planner Geoffrey Davis explained that those properties that were not eligible for the fibre optic network would be placed on either the fixed wireless or satellite networks.
He said work for the fibre and wireless networks would be conducted separately, meaning some residents might receive faster speeds before others.
However, with next year’s federal election looming, the elephant in the room is whether the NBN will be adopted by a potential coalition government.
For now NBN Co is pushing the project ahead, conducting similar discussions with local councils all over the country in preparation for the roll out.
Work is already under way in a number of suburbs in Perth and residents in Geraldton are some of the first in WA to make use of the scheme.
The network is due to be fully completed in 2020.