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Council goes its own way on NBN, plans cables and telco

ROCKHAMPTON Regional Council plans to overcome NBN Fibre to the Node internet issues by laying high speed optic fibre cables in Quay St.

Council plans to lay the cables alongside other road and water works and will look for opportunities to extend during other works in the future.

As NBN Co announced the start of Fibre to the Node construction in Rockhampton last week, Mayor Margaret Strelow said she was disappointed the region wouldn't be given the same speeds as the previous Fibre to the Premise rollout.

But Cr Strelow yesterday said Rockhampton had no choice but to bypass the NBN internet standard if it wanted to achieve its job-building smart city vision.

She said the idea was in its early stages and subject to planning, but could see council install and retain ownership of optic fibre cables with the intention of being able to provide access via a 'not-for-profit' community telco.

It is planned that the not-for-profit telco will provide fast, affordable internet access via a community-led initiative.

Cr Strelow said council would own the primary asset, the optic fibre cables, and lease them to the not-for-profit telco.

"We can't undo history and get the speeds Mackay and Townsville have got, but what we can achieve is the collaboration and support, at hopefully an affordable price," she said.

Cr Strelow said council would lay a "backbone" of cables in the street, which businesses could choose to access for a fee.

However, the cost of connecting would remain lower than accessing NBNCo.

Cr Strelow said council would not lay cables in the whole CBD at once, but would work in with other road and water works.

She said council already owned a lot of the cables used for CCTV networks, which could also be used for high speed internet.

Council has consulted with internet entrepreneur Bevan Slattery on the idea.

High speed internet access is crucial to the Smart City plan designed to bring high tech business start ups to the precinct.

Cr Strelow said The Capricorn ICT Network Group, a team of IT professionals, was supportive and keen to assist in the planning and development stages.

Skilled IT director Daeko Nezic said the proposal was "a major step forward" in helping existing businesses compete on a national and global scale.

"With a community telco established it will help eliminate the current reliance on the big telcos," he said. "If the roll out in the Rockhampton CBD is successful then expanding the infrastructure over time will help benefit areas such as North Rockhampton and Gracemere."

Topics:  editors picks nbn rockhampton rockhampton regional council telcos



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