iiNet, Internode, MacTel circling new backhaul links

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iiNet, Internode, MacTel circling new backhaul links

Predicted capacity will be quickly soaked up.

ISPs iiNet, Internode, Adam and Macquarie Telecom will look to offer services to some or all of the 100 regional towns that will benefit from the Government's $250m backhaul blackspots scheme.

All welcomed the contract awarded to Nextgen Networks by the Communications Minister Stephen Conroy at an event in Sydney today.

iiNet's chief technology officer Greg Bader said iiNet would look to build business cases to offer services in all locations opened up by the 6,000 kilometre fibre deployment.

He said the availability of competitive links could tip DSLAM investments in those locations over the line, but he said he did not have any commercial information on access costs and timelines.

"It's great news something is happening," he said.

"I wish it were 1,000 towns.

"The fact that it's Nextgen building is fine by us. We're pleased to see Darwin in there because it's been horrible in terms of competitive transmission out of the place."

Bader also said iiNet was "more than keen" to get access to the Geraldton link in Western Australia.

"As soon as we know some dates we're good to go," he said.

Internode managing director Simon Hackett labeled the announcement "an exciting development for us and for consumers.

"We look forward to learning more from NextGen now that they're allowed to talk to us about this - so we can figure out how to engage with them on these newly announced paths," he said.

"We're a major customer of Nextgen already, so I would expect in the future to be taking up even more services with them under appropriate commercial arrangements."

Macquarie Telecom also confirmed in a statement that it was "set to expand its services into these towns" named by the Federal Government and Nextgen.

"We fully expect to expand our services in the towns that will offer real, wholesale choice," said the telco's national executive for government and regulatory Matt Healy.

"It beggars belief that, prior to today's announcement, a town the size of Darwin had one internet link provider to the rest of Australia and the world. It will be the first time that the six towns identified will benefit from real competition and the freedom to choose from more than one provider."

Healy believed the extra capacity would "be quickly soaked up".

"Any arguments that the new networks are an unnecessary duplication of existing infrastructure fail the reality test," Healy said.

"Such claims are either made to protect blatant self-interest or are ignorant of the poor state of broadband in many Australian regions."

Adam Internet managing director Scott Hicks welcomed the Victor Harbor link.

"The area out south has always been incredibly expensive," he said.

"We've been trying to do something in that area for quite some time. It's always been a goal to enable some sort of WiMAX or DSLAM solution out there. Telstra is the only option [now] and their rates are ridiculously expensive."

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