Victoria has earmarked $20 million for building new fibre optic links to rural areas without competitive network infrastructure.
Theo Theophanous, Victorian ICT Minister
(Credit: Parliament of Victoria)
The $20 million VicFibreLINKS grant, part of $300 million promised in the state's 2008 Innovation Statement launched today, will pay for new fibre capacity in regional areas.
"Large regional centres, such as Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and the Latrobe Valley, are well served with more than one provider of fibre infrastructure. However, important areas of Victoria have growing populations, a strong regional industry and government presence but are being held back by the lack of competitive broadband services," Victorian ICT Minister Theo Theophanous said in a statement.
The money was necessary to address the usage which will result from the national broadband network's faster speeds. "Combined with the rapidly growing demand for high speed mobile data, this means the demands on regional backhaul or network and hub connectivity are only going to increase — which is why VicFibreLINKS will be so important," Theophanous said.
The project would also subsidise the development of new open-access fibre backhaul infrastructure in key regions, including lines from Bendigo to Mildura via Echuca and Swan Hill and Geelong to Warrnambool, with other potential projects to be considered.
The government expected to release the request for tender for the fibre links by 2009.
The Federal government has also pledged $20 million to the effort.
Alongside money for the fibre roll-out, the Victorian government has set aside $15 million to develop Web 2.0 technologies in government, communities and businesses.
The first call for project proposals has been scheduled for mid September.