By Paul Hemsley
Federal Minister for Communications, Broadband and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy has advanced the spread of the National Broadband Network (NBN) in the New South Wales regional Northern Rivers with fixed wireless technology.
The federal government has rolled out the NBN infrastructure in the remote region of the Northern Rivers located on the northern coast line of NSW as part of a $15 billion investment to improve telecommunications in regional areas.
The local government areas that are marked for NBN installation are Ballina Shire, Byron Shire, Clarence Valley Shire, Kyogle Council, the City of Lismore, Richmond Valley Council and Tweed Shire.
The fixed wireless rollout has been designed to cater to smaller communities and villages by using satellite technology similar to the 4G technology presently being rolled out in mobile networks.
Wireless reception will mean that properties connected in the regional areas will have faster internet access than city areas still relying on ADSL2+ transmitted through copper wire.
Senator Conroy said this is providing better broadband than regional Australia has ever had before.
"The government's uniform national wholesale price policy also means people living in and around these areas will pay the same prices for NBN services as people in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane,” Senator Conroy said.
He said NBN plans are presently available “from as little” as $30 a month with no additional line rental, for a “faster and more reliable service”.
Member for Page, Janelle Saffin said people who don't live in Sydney will have access to the sort of services like telehealth and video conferencing that can “really help overcome the tyranny of distance”.
NBN Co’s community relations advisor, Tony Gibbs said NBN Co plans to lodge development applications with councils covering new sites or co-locating equipment on existing infrastructure.
“Following that, we plan further consultation on the specific proposals for new fixed-wireless facilities at several community information sessions for interested residents,” Mr Gibbs said.
Mr Gibbs said the fixed wireless facilities serving parts of the Northern Rivers are designed to offer access speeds of up to 12Mbps at the wholesale level, with high speeds planned to be available in the future.
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