By Paul Hemsley
A National Broadband Network (NBN) trial period in the Willunga area will lead to a commercial rollout assisted by the City of Onkaparinga.
Willunga falls under the City of Onkaparinga near Adelaide, which has liaised with the federal government and NBN Co to implement the infrastructure and assess the trial.
South Australian Minister for Science and Information Economy, Jay Weatherill said more than 140 households and businesses throughout Willunga have been connected to the NBN as part of a trial since June.
“The State Government has supported two programs to equip local people with the skills to take advantage of opportunities arising from the NBN,” Mr Weatherill said.
City of Onkaparinga economic development advisor Brian Hales said the council has had a broadband strategy for five years.
“With the first release cycle, our role was to ensure the rollout was as smooth as possible for issues such as reinstatement, clarifying any planning issues, which could relate more to native vegetation, heritage issues, so there was a very strong open communication dialogue with NBN Co,” Mr Hales said.
The council worked closely with the NBN design consultants to ensure the design constraints were understood, Mr Hales said.
“We set up a National Broadband Network implementation and working group so that all the things NBN needed to know about were readily accessible,” he said.
He said the council will provide advice on the nature of community consultation and its effectiveness; known issues that NBN Co needs to know about such as traffic management.
According to Mr Hales, council has not provided or received any funding for the project, but will start putting money up for digital enterprise and digital hubs for libraries.
He said council is not involved with the assessment phase, but feedback so far has been positive during the trial period.
The City of Onkaparinga will liaise with the City of Prospect and the City of Tea Tree Gully as similar NBN programs will take place in partnership with those two councils.
To promote the NBN to the community, the council has set up a ‘digital economy strategy working group’ internally through the Southern Adelaide Economic Development Board as part of the City of Marion to prepare strategies and “ease the path of the rollout”.
Mr Hales said Willunga is expected to end its trial on 5th October and begin its full commercial rollout.
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