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Gold Coast details fibre and Wi-Fi network expansion plans

New tender documents have shown details for the city's plans to expand its fibre broadband and Wi-Fi networks across the Gold Coast, with three loops to be complete over the next three financial years.

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The proposed fibre-optic network for the City of Gold Coast

The City of Gold Coast has announced more details of its fibre-optic network expansion, with the main Central Loop of the project set to be completed this financial year.

In Extension of the City-owned optic fibre network: Contractor Briefing tender documents, the City of Gold Coast revealed that the network will consist of three loops: The Central Loop for FY19 completion; the Northern Loop, to be completed the following year; and the Southern Loop, to be completed in FY21.

The Central Loop would include Miami depot, Miami aquatic centre, Burleigh Heads library, Burleigh Surf Life Saving Club, Burleigh Waters library, Robina library, Robina community centre, Mudgeeraba community centre, Mudgeeraba waste transfer station (WTS), Carrara depot, Nerang library, Molendinar WTS, Molendinar water treatment plant, Waterside West, Waterside East, Karp Court, Nerang Admin Building, Nerang Bicentennial, and Varsity Parade.

It would see the fibre-optic network expanded out to Nerang, Helensvale, Broadbeach, Miami, Palm Beach, Currumbin, and Coolangatta, and north past Coomera towards Ormeau and Jacobs Well.

The City of Gold Coast also revealed that it is seeking a panel of telco specialists to work across seven packages: Broadbeach to Miami; Miami to Burleigh Heads; Burleigh Heads Business Centre; Miami to Varsity; Bond University to Robina; Parkwood to Nerang; and Nerang to Robina.

The Gold Coast will also gain new Wi-Fi zones across Burleigh, Miami, and Nobbys foreshores; Waterside precinct; Cultural precinct; Nerang Admin precinct; Robina community centre; all libraries; and its Health and Knowledge Precinct.

This is in addition to its existing Wi-Fi zones in Broadwater Parklands, Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, and Coolangatta.

According to the tender documents, the delivery method should combine use of existing conduit networks in parks and roadways; new construction; use of council facilities such as optical transport network outdoor units, lighting and CTTV poles, and toilet blocks; a design change from cabinet distribution to underground access joint; and outdoor cabinets, Wi-Fi APs, and layer 2 network devices.

Project delivery on the Central Loop is set to begin on October 15, 2018, and be complete by June 17, 2019.

The City of Gold Coast had in August announced that it would be spending AU$10 million to add a 37-kilometre loop to its fibre-optic broadband network as part of its Digital City Program.

The expansion of the city-owned broadband network should provide AU$2.5 million through cost savings in addition to the revenue being made by wholesaling the network to retail service providers, according to the city.

Gold Coast chief innovation and economy officer Ian Hatton said the fibre network -- currently a 65km network running between Helensvale and Broadbeach that cost AU$4.5 million to deploy -- will "support accelerated deployment of 5G".

"We're developing a low-latency, high-core-count fibre optic network that has the capacity to deliver the fastest internet speeds in Australia. When finished, the network will be 100 times faster than what exists today," Hatton said at the time.

The Queensland government had in April revealed that it was undertaking due diligence to assess whether it can provide capacity on its own fibre-optic network ahead of the limited fibre provision of the federal government's National Broadband Network (NBN).

In late August, the City of Gold Coast then announced that it will also be building out an Internet of Things (IoT) network covering more than 1,300 square kilometres, with plans to use the connectivity for digital water metering, waste management, and support for parks and fields.

The LoRaWAN network is likewise part of the city's digitisation program, and is being built and operated by Australia's National Narrowband Network Company (NNNCo).

"We're developing a secure, scalable, commercial-grade IoT network that will enable infinite use cases by businesses, enterprise, and the council," Hatton said.

"We chose LoRaWAN technology because it supports large-scale deployments securely, reliably, and cost effectively. NNNCo have been engaged because of their proven ability to build the network and bring commercial solutions that have the potential to significantly add value to Gold Coast residents and businesses."

The network being provided by NNNCo -- which has also been chosen to build IoT networks for Newcastle and Lake Macquarie -- will lower costs across water management, Hatton added, as well as enabling early detection of any issues.

As a result of hosting the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, the Gold Coast was also the first area in the nation to have a live 5G network courtesy of Telstra, as well as a trial 5G network from Optus that ran during the event.

According to the Queensland government's submission to the to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network's rural and regional rollout inquiry, it is additionally encouraging the uptake of "competitive" non-NBN fixed-wireless services in areas that are not yet ready to connect to the NBN.

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