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NBN when and at what cost? January 30, 2009

Posted by ctcoberon in Uncategorized.

Australia is going to have a National Broadband Network (NBN) built sometime in the near future for around $4.7 billion according to the Federal Government. However, some believe it’s more likely to be around $10 to $20 billion.

The Federal Government has received six NBN bids, including national proposals from Telstra, Terria-Optus, Acacia and Axia NetMedia, and state bids from TransACT, and the Tasmanian government. Canadian-based company Axia NetMedia has an equal stake in Singapore’s national fibre network which is owned by Optus’ parent company SingTel. And according to some, if Optus wins, they will start building it in Rural Australia first, and then, in the major cities, and by doing so, they hope to be able to provide 98% coverage across Australia, but lately, they appear to have gone quiet on the idea. If Telstra wins, they will start building the NBN in the cities first and then in Rural Australia and by doing it this way they are only offering 90% coverage – if that? Then again, the Acacia group submitted a proposal to cover 100 percent of Australia with a wholesale network of fibre to the home and node, and with wireless and satellite for remote communities. Details of the other tenders have not yet been fully disclosed.

Australia is best described as a having an economy based upon agriculture, mining and tourism. Also, when one takes a closer look at what else is produced besides food and raw-materials we also find Rural Australia also produces the majority of Australia’s power and water. If Rural Australia produces all the food, raw materials, power and water for our major cities, why then is it so neglected when it come to infrastructure (i.e. transport) and technology (i.e. telecommunications) when the economy is based upon what it  produces? 

The only time most Australians know their living standards or the cost thereof is being affected is when Rural Australia experiences a major drought or flood and shortages occur, which leads to higher prices. But, when it comes to assisting those affected by these circumstances – the hoops our Primary Producers must jump through are unbelievable. Today, when it looks like technology (i.e. NBN) can help play a more important role in the life of Rural Australia those in power still don’t appear to get it – if Rural Australia is not successful the whole of Australia feels the pain and pays the price. 

The Central West has for sometime now had a proposal before the Federal Government that outlines the many benefits for starting the NBN build in this region and they include; education, health, telecommunications, resource management, market information, weather, infrastructure management, and much more. And why not start here? Especially as the government has included in the $4.7 billion cost, the $2 billion which was set aside by the previous federal government for the express purpose of building better telecommunication in Rural Australia, but once again like with many things, it appears to have fallen on deaf ears.

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