Nextgen wins $250m regional backbone deal

Nextgen wins $250m regional backbone deal

Summary: Leighton subsidiary Nextgen Networks has pipped Optus for the $250 million deal to roll-out 6000 kilometres of backbone links to regional Australia.

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Leighton subsidiary Nextgen Networks has pipped Optus for the $250 million deal to roll-out 6000 kilometres of backbone links to regional Australia.

Next-gen blackspots links web ready

Conroy's regional fibre plan
(Credit: DBCDE)

The construction giant's boss Wal King and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today signed the deal at Leighton's Sydney offices.

"We will be working as hard as possible with communities for the least disruptions, but we will build it as quickly as we possibly can," King said today at the media briefing.

The six destinations of the network are Geraldton, Western Australia; Darwin, Northern Territory; Emerald and Longreach, Queensland; Broken Hill, New South Wales; Victor Harbor, South Australia; and South West Gippsland, Victoria. Conroy said the links would pass 100 regional towns.

Work is expected to commence immediately with the backbone links expected to be completed within 18 months.

Conroy said that the network's construction would create around 1000 jobs and took the opportunity to take a jibe at new opposition leader Tony Abbott.

"Tony Abbott is opposing 1000 direct jobs created by this project. He's opposing cheaper broadband to 395,000 regional Australians in 100 regional locations. And he's stopping price competition, which according to Western Australian government, where there is no competition for existing infrastructure, prices are between 250 and 700 per cent higher because there is no competition to these regional centres."

The Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy has published maps here.

Telstra had advised against the plan in a submission to the government earlier this year.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Government AU, Telcos, Optus

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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Talkback

4 comments
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  • just what we need

    more network duplication of existing infrastructure as both optu and telstra and nextgen probably already have network covering these areas.

    It aint going to make the speeds to the houses any quicker as the isps will still need to rely on existing infrastructure which means either installing their own dslams or using the ull off telstra.

    How much of this is going to be installed on electrical transmission lines one wonders?
    anonymous
  • here we go again

    duplication waste cost to the community its HFC all over again
    anonymous
  • Declaration would have been cheaper!!!

    Why not just declare the Telstra transmission services to these locations (part of the USO?) at metro or proxied rates (like on equivalent locations that have competition) and voila, competition via Access Seakers DSLAM's!!!
    anonymous
  • What a waste of money

    Why O why is our government going into the back haul business?There's a reason these areas are not well served is obvious - there's no demand. You wouldn't expect a high speed rail line or freeway to be built to these places, so why is the government wasting money on these fibre roll outs?
    anonymous