Federal Page MP Janelle Saffin accepts the submission from SCU’s Professor Peter Croll.
Federal Page MP Janelle Saffin accepts the submission from SCU’s Professor Peter Croll.

Superfast broadband to hit Coffs

IN a huge boost for Coffs Harbour’s future, the city got the jump on the rest of regional NSW with the news superfast broadband is coming here next.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy announced yesterday Coffs Harbour has been selected for the next roll-out of the National Broadband Network.

This stunning coup will transform the region’s economic future if we capitalise on the early-adopter window of opportunity.

Initially, 3000 premises will come online under the new, faster, more reliable broadband network with construction to start mid next year.

The only other NSW location announced yesterday was Riverstone in Sydney’s west while a further 17 hubs nationwide were revealed in the second stage of the $43 billion roll-out.

“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,” said Coffs Harbour mayor Councillor Keith Rhoades.

“The partnership of Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbour City Council, the local businesses involved and our neighbouring councils has been key to persuading the company of the enormous economic and educational benefits that a high-speed broadband network would bring to the region.”

Yesterday’s announcement caps off an extensive and exhaustive submission process spearheaded by Southern Cross University and its Professor of Information Technology and Information Systems, Peter Croll.

“Our submission included a number of case studies showing how this technology can be utilised in areas including e-health, arts and media, regional business and e-learning,” Professor Croll said.

“This is a really exciting development for Coffs Harbour and the North Coast, which will provide opportunities for regional businesses to flourish.”

The company managing the project, NBN Co, will soon begin community consultation with the Coffs Harbour City Council working through planning and engineering issues.

Once the Coffs Coast is brought up to speed and connected to the national fibre optic network the region will hold a greater position in the digital economy.

It’s thought the NBN roll-out could attract major businesses and corporations to town, as well as more health and education facilities looking to capitalise on the new age in internet connection.

NBN Co CEO, Mike Quigley said the arrival of the network into Coffs Harbour will help support the first stage roll-out into Armidale, announced in March.

“We have selected these second sites to build upon the work we are doing in the first release sites and to progress the rollout in areas of future network growth,” Mr Quigley said.

“These sites have been selected based on a range of criteria including engineering and construction requirements, network design and the level of existing broadband infrastructure.

“The engagement of local government and the receptiveness of communities to broadband initiatives were also factors taken into consideration.”

The NBN Co network design is based on a series of building block or modules.

“The first and second release sites are the areas from which we can expect to see future rollout – extending and expanding the network.

We will also see the announcement of additional release sites as the national rollout ramps up,” he said.

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