NBN ROLLOUT PLAN SLAMMED FOR LACK OF DETAIL

Written on the 2 April 2015 by Jenna Rathbone

NBN ROLLOUT PLAN SLAMMED FOR LACK OF DETAIL

CLOSE to 20,000 Gold Coast homes and businesses are set to benefit from super-fast broadband internet, however not all industry leaders are happy with the proposed plans.

Hinterland areas and coastal suburbs on the southern Gold Coast are expected to be linked first, while it is still unclear when other suburbs, including the CBD, will be connected.

Southport Chamber of Commerce president Laird Marshall says it would have made sense to firstly connect the main business nodes of the city, including Southport, which would help to promote the priority development area (PDA).

Without knowing when Southport will be linked to the National Broadband Network, he says it is difficult attracting new business to take up residence within the PDA and in other business areas of the city.

"They need to show us a plan that is going to happen regardless of hell or high water, and this includes when they plan to have the connections done for every suburb so everyone knows," says Marshall.

"At the moment, I don't know of any other plans and I don't know what the timeframes are.  It makes it really hard when we are trying to promote new industries to the Gold Coast."

James Greig, founder of Bloomtools, a web marketing and software company located in Varsity Lakes, says while his business sits within the area that will be connected first, he agrees with Marshall that Southport should have been a priority.

"I would agree that anywhere where there is a large amount of businesses, as opposed to residential, should be the focus first," says Greig. 

"And I would have also much preferred to see a structured plan in the beginning instead of it being drip-fed to us over time."

Greig still welcomes the NBN rollout and says when it is fully functional it will bring great benefits to business.

"For businesses it is very exciting because for many years now, Australia has been lagging behind the rest of the world from a connectivity point of view and, as a result, we have been missing out on a lot of technology and enhancements," he says.

"Finally we are starting to move up in the ranks and we will be able to take better advantage of technology and also start to see some innovation around that area."

Work on the first NBN network on the Gold Coast will start at the end of 2016 and the 19,500 properties expected to be linked will be in 18 suburbs including Mudgeeraba, Carrara, Currumbin, Tugun, Palm Beach and Elanora.

The announcement of connectivity on the Gold Coast follows recent renegotiated deals with Telstra and Optus which has allowed NBN Co to take over existing infrastructure in order to upgrade and integrate it into its network.

Federal Member for Moncrieff Steven Ciobo says the announcement provides greater certainty for homes and businesses.

"The NBN will deliver internet access that's fast, reliable and affordable," he says.

"Better broadband will transform the way homes and businesses communicate, do business and access online services."

Marshall says although this is well and good in theory, he is calling on the government to provide better clarity around the rollout so the people of the Gold Coast and Australia can keep them accountable.

"It is a step in the right direction but the devil is in the details and we are interested in it happening, not talking about it happening because we need the Coast to be taken seriously as a business centre."

Marshall says the Gold Coast as a whole should be a priority to other cities saying "we need to have our ducks in a row before the Commonwealth Games".

"I think we have more of a claim to the NBN than anyone else with the Games coming up," he says.

"But whether that falls on deaf ears of people in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne I don't know.  I want to see a proper timeframe, particularly for the Gold Coast."


Author: Jenna Rathbone
About: Jenna Rathbone is a Queensland-based journalist who writes on a range of issues including business and property affairs and social issues.
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