A NSW council is hoping to deliver a 100 Gigabit per second network to attract more businesses to its region and reduce the need for residents to commute.
Central Coast Council is working with multiple providers to deliver a super high-speed, high-performance fibre optic data network, and a first for regional areas in Australia.
Council CEO Gary Murphy said this initiative was started because Council recognised that a lot of its residents – some 44,000 people – commute to Sydney daily for work.
“That’s a significant number of people, it’s basically a football stadium of people travelling to Sydney every day,” he told Government News.
Research conducted by the Council and consulting firm Urbis also this was impacting on the region’s local economy and community, resulting in a loss of approximately $113.2 million in lunches and beverages per year.
Council also talked to several financial institutions that had employees commuting from the Central Coast and canvassed setting up offices in the region.
“What we’re really wanting is for large institutions like the banks to set up offices here on the Central Coast to allow the employees who currently travel to Sydney to stay here on the Central Coast,” Mr Murphy said.
Businesses were interested but informed Council that they need secure connections with reliable connectivity to do that.
Not NBN under different name
Council is currently working with providers to find a solution that provides a high speed connection.
“This is not the internet. These are dedicated high speed fibre networks which can be separated for voice, for data, for any of those things. They’re dedicated secure lines,” Mr Murphy said.
“The idea is that, if you have a building, you may have dedicated lines going into each floor or as they’re broken up, providing that speed, that security, that stability and that reliability…this is not just the NBN under a different name.”
However, it’s not just about the technology it’s also about people, Mr Murphy says.
“The technology is just part of the solution. This is not a technology solution per se, it’s more around making sure that the people who want to live and work here in the Central Coast can do so.”
A 100 Gigabit per second network will provide many benefits, including financial benefits for local businesses, and social benefits for people when their commute times are reduced.
“There are just so many environmental, economic and social impacts for this that it just seems so sensible and important that we get onto it,” Mr Murphy said.
Challenges of securing office space
One of the challenges Council faces is securing commercial office space to make this happen.
“We do not have currently a lot of available A-grade commercial office space. We have some but not enough,” Mr Murphy said.
“So what we are hoping through this announcement, and working with the providers, is to create that degree of excitement in some of those institutional investors to come and invest in office space here.”
He says it’s both exciting and daunting for Council to be the first regional area to attempt this initiative.
“It’s exciting in that we can get first mover advantage, but I suppose when you are the first then invariably you have to learn along the way and you might make a few missteps,” Mr Murphy said.
“The people who come after you can benefit from your knowledge and learn from your mistakes, but we are hoping that the first mover advantage will help outweigh some of those issues.”
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