The City of Sydney has voted to undertake a study into the feasibility of forcing power and telecoms utilities to bury their cables in conjunction with the NBN roll-out.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the face of Sydney City,” said City of Sydney Labor Councillor Linda Scott, who put forward the motion on Monday night.
The motion was given unanimous approval by council.
Councillor Scott said she wishes to have cables buried for aesthetic and environmental reasons.
Scott also said underground cables are easier to maintain, and that buried power cables lose less electricity than those strung on poles.
The City of Sydney expects to complete the study by the middle of next year. NBN Co won't start rolling out high-speed broadband in the City of Sydney for three to four years.
A spokeswoman for NBN Co said the decision to bury cables or string them overhead came down to available pit and pipe infrastructure.
“The pits and pipes need to be straight, without kinks, to put the cables underground,” she said.
NBN Co has an agreement with Telstra to use the telco’s pits where appropriate. The Government-owned wholesale network has previously indicated approximately 25 percent of the total NBN cable rollout will be overhead due to infrastructure restrictions.
Councillor Scott conceded that the City has no power to force NBN Co, or any other utility provider, to bury cables.
“It would have to be done in a fashion where everyone agreed to it,” she said. “However we want to show leadership in this area. We will talk to the federal and state governments about it too.”
The NBN Co spokeswoman declined to comment on the particulars of the City of Sydney plan.
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