NBN Co to reveal Gungahlin NBN area in weeks

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NBN Co to reveal Gungahlin NBN area in weeks

Broadband campaigner made council president.

NBN Co last night kicked off community meetings in the northern Canberra suburb of Gungahlin with politicians, stakeholders and 130 residents.

Representatives of the Government-owned network builder held separate meetings with ACT Senator Kate Lundy and broadband activist Russ Gillon ahead of the community meeting.

The community meeting, which attracted the largest turnout of similar such events this year, saw Gillon elected as Gungahlin Community Council president, allowing predecessor Alan Kerlin to "step back from public facing components" of his role and focus his attention on planning issues in the area, according to Gillon.

NBN Co said that it would reveal the up to 2500 locations to receive fibre connections in the next month.

And it also reportedly "made clear during the meeting, [that] once the rollout begins it will continue until the entire Gungahlin area is completed," according to a blog post by Gillon.

"Once they start, they're going to continue until Gungahlin is finished," Gillon said.

"They're not going to stop and then come back again in two years."

That prospect made "logistical sense", according to Kerlin, because it did not make sense to ship contractors into the area to do a first run of connections, then ship them all out only to have them return to complete the work down the track.

ITNews believed that council executives were speculating where NBN Co would host its fibre access node facility that housed the active equipment providing services to a fibre-serving area, according to NBN Co definitions. Possible locations included an exchange in the town centre.

Gillon told iTnews that his hour-long meeting with NBN Co at his home included the "opportunity to explain to their technical staff exactly what issues were in the area and what I understood the telecommunications deployments [locally] to be".

He said there were 75 remote integrated multiplexers (RIMs) spread across six suburbs that had impacted telecommunications and broadband services for residents.

Gillon's grassroots campaign for better broadband became a key aspect of the push for expedited NBN rollout in Gungahlin. It was mentioned as an influence on NBN Co when Gungahlin's inclusion in the second-stage rollout of the NBN was announced.

"My campaign was to have the multiplexers removed," Gillon said. "It's still my campaign".

Gillon said he had offered to help the Gungahlin Community Council months ago after it and Senator Lundy picked up his campaign for better broadband to promote it broadly.

"I felt I should give something back to the organisation that supported my campaign," he said.

He said he was "surprised" to be voted in as president last night.

"They needed a new president because Kerlin was doing way too much," Gillon said.

"So they said how about you nominate in front of 130 people [crammed] into that tiny room [at Palmerston Community Centre]."

Video of the NBN Co consultation was expected to be posted to the council website.

The reporter was not at the event.

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