NBN Co releases 14 new trial sites

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NBN Co releases 14 new trial sites

Councils get a say in where fibre goes.

NBN Co has announced 14 new sites next in line to be strung up with fibre broadband services as part of the rollout of the National Broadband Network.

All of Australia's mainland states and territories were represented among the new sites [see maps, top right].

Residents in Bacchus Marsh, 45 minutes west of Melbourne, and the Melbourne suburb of South Morang join Brunswick in receiving NBN Co connections.

The inner-north metro area of Brisbane, a Lend Lease housing estate at Springfield Lakes and regional centre Toowoomba are among the winners in Queensland.


Riverstone in Western Sydney will be the first NBN Co site in the New South Wales state capital, and residents of seaside city Coffs Harbour on the NSW Mid North Coast will also be connected.

In Western Australia, the Perth suburb of Victoria Park joins Geraldton and Mandurah on the list, as does Casuarina in the Northern Territory.

Gungahlin, a suburb in the Australian Capital Territory with a history of broadband connection problems, finally got its wish to be connected to high-speed broadband.

Modbury and Prospect were chosen in South Australia.

NBN Co said it would commence construction of networks in first release sites this month and begin on second release sites in the second quarter of 2011.

Yesterday, Senator Conroy told iTnews that engineers, rather than politics, shaped the decisions on where to take the NBN next.

More council consultation

NBN Co has promised it will consult local councils affected by the stage two rollout of the national fibre network.

The approach is in stark contrast to the first five release sites - where councils weren't consulted about which areas of their constituency most needed better broadband infrastructure.

Councils told iTnews after the first announcement in March that they didn't receive early warning of NBN Co's intentions but were "pleasantly surprised" to be selected.

"The five councils were very happy that we were coming to their areas, but they did say to us when we subsequently consulted with them - which was very quickly after the announcement - ‘if you could have just been a bit further here it would have been slightly better for us'," Quigley said.

"For example, if there happened to be a school that was very close by, could we go there?

"What we'd like to do is just make sure we take that into account before we finalise those boundaries [for the second release sites]."

Not all of the fibre serving area (FSA) would be kitted out in this release. An FSA can have "tens of thousands" of subscribers whereas the second release site networks will host around 3,000 services in each location.

Quigley said the consultation process wouldn't be a case of councils "dictating" where NBN Co could roll out fibre.

"We've obviously got a lot of engineering, logistics and planning issues as well," Quigley said.

"I think together we'll come to a good outcome for everybody."


Victoria - Bacchus Marsh, South Morang (Melbourne);
Queensland - Brisbane (inner north), Springfield Lakes, Toowoomba;
NSW - Riverstone (western Sydney), Coffs Harbour;
South Australia - Modbury, Prospect;
Western Australia - Victoria Park (Perth), Geraldton, Mandurah;
Northern Territory - Casuarina; and
ACT - Gungahlin

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