Armidale to pay for NBN fibre extension to airport

Armidale to pay for NBN fibre extension to airport

Summary: Armidale council has voted to spend up to AU$250,000 extending the fibre network in the town out to the airport and the new industrial land development using existing sewer trenches.

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The council for regional NSW town and one of the first National Broadband Network (NBN) launch sites, Armidale, has voted to pay NBN Co up to AU$250,000 to rollout fibre cable to the town's airport and new industrial land development, after a lengthy fight from businesses in the area to have NBN Co pay for the fibre installation.

The Armidale Dumaresq council announced yesterday that the council had unanimously voted to spend AU$250,000 on the infrastructure needed to expand the fibre network out to the locations not currently passed by fibre, serving the airport and up to 200 premises in the development. Staff in the council had already found that money could be saved by locating the fibre in the shared sewer trench that is being built as part of a water and sewer upgrade for the airport.

Businesses in the Acacia Park industrial development had long complained to the former Labor government, and former Independent MP Tony Windsor about the fibre network bypassing the development, with NBN Co originally planning to offer its fixed wireless LTE service instead.

Armindale acting mayor Cr Jenny Bailey said that installing fibre at the industrial land development next to the airport would make it an attractive location for businesses.

"Armidale is in the national spotlight as the first mainland city in Australia to have the NBN rolled-out. It would be foolhardy of council to not offer the latest high speed fibre broadband to businesses potentially looking to relocate to our region," she said in a statement.

The council had been in discussion with NBN Co to extend the fibre to the airport in the early days of the rollout, according to Council executive director of strategic projects and infrastructure David Steller, but the airport was outside the footprint, and NBN Co said that the cost of extending the network would be up to the council to meet.

"While there was discussion about shared costing and there was some verbal indication that such an arrangement may be possible, no formal commitments were ever formulated," he said.

The cost of the project has been estimated to cost up to AU$200,000, but detailed design work will need to be completed before the true cost can be determined.

The council has indicated it could recoup some of its costs from future connections to the NBN through NBN Co.

NBN Co told ZDNet that contracts for the construction of the fibre extension had yet to be signed.

"NBN Co is still negotiating the details of Armidale Dumaresq Council's proposed network extension to Armidale Regional Airport and industrial land development. No contracts have been signed," a spokesperson for NBN Co said.

The Armidale extension is just the second to be undertaken by NBN Co since the formulation of its policy of user-pays fibre extension beyond the original 93 percent of Australian premises covered by fibre under Labor's NBN model. A business in Tasmania was the first to pay for the fibre extension in May last year, at a price that NBN Co declined to reveal.

Topics: NBN, Government, Government AU, Australia

About

Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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6 comments
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  • Bizarre

    It is very odd that exactly sort of places that should be included are the areas that left out. It's a good thing that the local government have stepped in, but awful that they had to.
    It looks like a problem with the 'density' criteria, and this does not work well for business parks.

    Also the network extension policy should really return a percentage of revenue back to the investor.
    Trebus
  • Actually

    The NBN/Labor Govt had agreed to do the fibre extension to the industrial park after extensive lobbying.
    That would have provided a far shorter extension to the airport.

    Good to see however some active planning by Council, co locating the fibre ducts with other new utilities already planned, saving much money and time
    Abel Adamski
  • Joking?

    Oh my goodness. Local business, read private enterprise, pressuring the council to pay for FTTP using other ratepayers funds.
    Is this the model that Turnbull and the Liberal Party are advocating?

    I suspect so. It's not a case of equitable allocation of resources but who shouts loudest and who has who's ear.
    Tailgator
  • Hope they keep control of it

    For Armidale's sake lets hope they keep control of their own fibre. Can then invite other network operators to provide service and not be dependent on NBN Co.
    Rossyduck
    • Ahh the wonders of blinkered vision

      Read the article, it is the NBN building it under the copayment provisions

      Guess you prefer the rent seeking , cherry picking private sector to have the ratepayer pay for it so they can come in and swill at the ratepayer/taxpayer trough when they themselves were not prepared to make the investment or do the work or even contribute.
      Abel Adamski
    • Why?

      NBN would be open access, competitive environment.
      Private sector a rip off monopoly, the customer can choose any colour as long as it is black, after all business is about profit only and when there is no competition, they are not public service or charity
      Abel Adamski