The government announced that 6000 kilometres of cables will be laid out on mainland Australia that will act as the ‘building blocks’ of the National Broadband Network.
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According to Senator Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, the government has signed an agreement with Nextgen Networks to construct the new broadband backbone infrastructure under the $250 million Regional Backbone Blackspots Program. Nextgen Networks was selected through a competitive tender process.
Nextgen will build backbone transmission links and provide more than 100 access points en-route to six priority blackspot locations:
- Geraldton, Western Australia.
- Darwin, Northern Territory.
- Emerald and Longreach, Queensland.
- Broken Hill, New South Wales.
- Victor Harbor, South Australia; and
- South West Gippsland, Victoria.
“This priority $250 million investment will directly benefit more than 395,000 people in 100 regional locations and create new jobs across five states and the Northern Territory,” says Conroy.
“These regional backbones are the first building blocks of the National Broadband Network on the mainland and will stimulate competition and better broadband services across regional Australia. This is just the beginning and the National Broadband Network will ensure high-speed broadband is also expanded to all homes, schools and workplaces across Australia,” added Conroy.
According to the government, these priority locations were chosen following a public consultation process to identify competition and capacity shortfalls.
In addition, Nextgen is also making a substantial investment towards the project and will build, operate and maintain the infrastructure for five years after its completion. Nextgen expects the investment to create more than 1,000 full time equivalent jobs and provide economic stimulus to regional locations during the construction and operation of the networks.
“I want to congratulate Nextgen on its successful tender to deploy nearly 6000km of new backbone broadband infrastructure for regional Australia. The NBN coordinators will work closely with Nextgen, local communities, governments and retail service providers to ensure that they are able to make full use of the new infrastructure,” concluded Conroy.