Mount Isa in Queensland's north will this Wednesday become the starting point for the Federal Government's $250 million backhaul build.
Conroy's regional fibre plan
Nextgen Networks, which was awarded the deal last December, has contracted fellow Leighton subsidiary Visionstream to oversee construction of the new link, which will head north-west from Mt Isa to its endpoint in Darwin, and south-east towards Toowoomba, west of Brisbane.
The link passes priority Queensland blackspot towns, Longreach and Emerald, nominated for early deployment by the government. Construction will commence this Wednesday, according to Nextgen Networks. The network is scheduled to be operational within the next 18 months.
"More than 162,000 people along this 3835-kilometre individual route north to Darwin and south to Toowoomba will be key beneficiaries of the Australian Government's investment in this infrastructure," Nextgen Networks' general manager Phil Sykes said in a statement today.
The company will officially launch the new link at a ceremony to be held at Mt Isa this Wednesday.
A timetable has yet to be set for other priority locations, including Western Australia's south east between Geraldton and Perth; a triangular link that will connect Broken Hill in NSW's west to Victor Harbor in South Australia as well as Shepparton in rural northern Victoria. A smaller link has also been planned between Sale and Wonthaggi in Victoria.
Sykes told ZDNet.com.au that Nextgen hoped to release further dates in the coming weeks, and that information for access seekers would be available from its website this Wednesday.
Nextgen Networks has a five-year contract to operate the network.