Darren will be raising awareness about The National Broadband Network at the T.H.E. Exchange event in Coffs Harbour on 21 June.
For those who don’t know, what is NBN Co?
The NBN is the National broadband Network, which is essentially a high-speed internet and communications network that is being rolled out to every premise in Australia.
The network is designed to give improved broadband services to Australians, irrespective of whether they live in metro, regional, rural or remote locations.
The network has three core delivery technologies to reach each property in the form of fibre, fixed wireless and satellite connections.
The NBN is not just about faster internet – it’s about an upgrade to the infrastructure that will underpin the delivery of vital applications that Australians will need over the coming decades. This is a great step forward in preparing our country for the future and helping to address some of its biggest challenges in healthcare, education and business
What is your role with the organisation – and what does it involve?
I am the Community Relations Advisor for NBN Co, with a focus on Government and Community Relations in the areas that we are building in across New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Primarily, my role is to help raise awareness and understanding amongst local stakeholders such as Councils, Regional Development Authority, Chambers of Commerce, universities and TAFEs, Members of Parliament, as well as the local community, as to what the NBN is, what it will mean for locals and prepare the way for its construction in the area.
I also spend time with stakeholders looking forward to the Digital Economy and making sure that they are aware of the benefits, as well as prepare for when we switch the network on the NBN to optimise its use in terms of attractive new industries, creating employment and diversifying the local economy to take advantage of the new emerging digital age.
Please give us the nuts and bolts details of the National Broadband Network?
The NBN will deliver better broadband to every Australian, no matter where they live via a combination of fibre (93% of the premises across Australia) or, where building fibre is cost prohibitive, fixed wireless (4% of the premises) and satellite (3% of the premises). The entire construction project is expected to take around a decade to complete.
In terms of improved speeds and capacities, that largely depends on what end users are getting at present. Across all three platforms we will be offering a range of services, that will be represented to end users over time by offers from retail service providers.
For Fixed Wireless for example, the introductory services will be 8 times faster than ADSL1. Each delivery technology has a road map to offer even faster speeds and capacities over time.
How will the National Broadband Network benefit regional Australians?
The rollout of the NBN follows a series of design principles that aim to deliver a high-speed broadband network in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
These principles include: first extending the network in areas where work has already begun; balancing construction across states and territories and between metropolitan and regional locations; and making use of available exchange and transit infrastructure as it becomes available.
Regional Australia will have access to the same services that those in metro Australia have enjoyed. Investment in new industries and companies, innovation and incubation can now be done anywhere across Australia. We are already seeing people move their business to areas that already have NBN activated which are not in metro locations.
NBN Co has just announced a three-year roll out plan. How will this plan unfold – and what areas will it cover?
The National Broadband Network has published a three-year plan that will see an essential upgrade to Australia’s communications rolled out to more than a third of the Australian population.
By mid-2015, the network will be up and running and construction will be underway in areas containing around 1,500 communities – or areas comprising more than 3.5 million homes and businesses in every state and territory.
The figures include the three quarters of a million premises where construction work is underway or set to begin this year, including the eight early locations where the fibre network is already in service.
We can ramp up activity, because construction contracts are in place and the major commercial and regulatory hurdles have been cleared, giving us the momentum we need.
The full list of localities where the network is up and running, where work is underway and where work is scheduled to begin before mid-2015 can be viewed online at www.nbnco.com.au/rollout/about-the-rollout/communities-in-the-rollout.html.
Communities can also check the progress of the rollout by typing in their location or postcode into the interactive NBN Rollout Map: www.nbnco.com.au/rollout
Looking beyond this three-year plan, what are the next geographical areas likely to be included in the NBN?
NBNCo will be updating the three-year plan every 12 months. This essentially means that new areas, towns and cities will be constantly added and communities will have a degree of certainty as to when we are coming.
It is important to note that the national Fixed Wireless network will be completed by the end of 2015 and that we will be launching two satellites to improve the interim satellite network in 2015 as well.
The NBNCo website www.nbnco.com.au is the best place to find out information, or people can call our national contact centre on 1800 881 816 with an enquiry.
What is the estimated time frame for most of Australia to be connected?
The fibre network roll out will take 9.5 years to complete before the 93% of premises are connected. The Fixed Wireless covering 4% will be completed by 2015 and the interim satellite which is operating now will be upgraded with the addition of our two new satellites in 2015 For those who live in an area where the NBN is being rolled out, how do they go about getting connected?
The many Retail Service Providers (the list is currently 39 and growing) will market prices, bundles and a range of offers to end users. The end user will select a service, sign-up with a RSP then the RSP will place an order on NBNCo to connect the property.
The end user will be well and truly informed as to when we are coming to their area and see a range of marketing material from the retail service providers, with competitive offers to select from.
You’re a guest speaker at the T.H.E. Exchange (Technology Health Education) event in Coffs Harbour on June 21. What topics will your speech cover?
NBN Co will have several speakers at T.H.E. Exchange to address the status of the national roll-out, the latest in applications, end-user devices and global trends in other digital economies, as well as what is working well across the country by way of the use of the NBN to drive improvements to the way people work, live, learn and play.
Where can people go to find out more information about the NBN?
The NBN Co website www.nbnco.com.au is the best place to find out information, or people can call our national contact centre on 1800 881 816 with their enquiry.
Thank you Darren.
This story was published in issue 63 of Manning Great Lakes Focus