Prof Peter Croll, SCU.
Prof Peter Croll, SCU.

Broadband – who will be the first?

THE company charged with rolling-out state-of-the-art broadband into Coffs Harbour will consult the community about who should have access to the 3200 connections.

Thursday’s announcement made by Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Stephen Conroy, that Coffs Harbour will be the only regional centre in NSW to get access to the next roll-out could potentially transform the region commercially and socially.

NBN Co will implement the fibre optic cabling from March next year and within two months, engineers will be here to determine who gets it.

“It might be that a school has preference over a particular area or a business has priority, all of that will be determined by consultation,” said a spokeswoman for the company yesterday.

“The process is that we first roll-out the street cabling, then it goes to the houses from junction boxes in the street.

“From there people in Coffs Harbour will need to contact a retail service provider to activate the service.”

The fibre optic cable will be mostly laid underground taking advantage of existing infrastructure but if necessary, it can go overhead.

Coffs Harbour’s successful tender to be part of the next phase of roll-outs is a huge boost for the region and a huge personal victory for Page MP Janelle Saffin and Professor Peter Croll from Southern Cross University who masterminded the proposal.

“The NBN will be particularly important for health in relation to research trails, remote consultation, video conferencing and live medical procedures.”

Locally, the education sector will race ahead with access to global data and technology services that only superfast broadband can unlock.

Coffs Harbour City Council mayor Cr Keith Rhoades was predictably delighted by the announcement on Thursday.

“This is a fantastic result for all the partners involved in the submission urging NBN Co to establish the broadband network as quickly as possible on the North Coast,” he said.

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