The Queensland government has funnelled $8.6 million into its state-owned fibre backhaul play FibreCo Qld which aims to improve regional NBN connectivity.
The funding, revealed in the state government’s 2019-20 budget on Tuesday, will be used to establish and run the provider, which was first announced last December.
“Delivering on our election commitments, the government is providing additional funding of $8.6 million over two years to make high speed and low cost internet available to regional Queensland,” budget papers state.
FibreCo Qld, which is expected to be online from around mid-2019, will open up 6000km of existing fibre optic backhaul cabling to carry residential internet traffic.
Once billed as a broadband network to rival the NBN, the provider will work with internet service providers to drive down costs and raise competition in the regional NBN market.
“FibreCo Qld will work with internet service providers to connect parts of the state-owned optical fibre network to the NBN in key regional areas,” the government said announcing the provider.
“This will then enable existing and new NBN retail service providers to acquire much better backhaul capacity at very competitive pricing.”
The provider, which will be owned by Powerlink Queensland and Energy Queensland, will focus on serving areas including Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.
Some 600,000 homes in regional Queensland could benefit from the new backhaul entrant.
“FibreCo is about providing better internet for regional Queensland and putting downward pressure on prices,” said Innovation Minister Kate Jones.
“This will create jobs in regional Queensland but also help small businesses to grow.”