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FibreCo Queensland officially established with first board members

Representatives of Powerlink Queensland and Energy Queensland take seats.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

The Queensland government-owned fibre backhaul provider, FibreCo Queensland, has been officially established this week with its first two board appointments.

Taking their seats will be Energy Queensland company secretary Jane Nant and Powerlink CEO Merryn York, whose companies are responsible for operating FibreCo. The chair and independent directors will be named in the coming weeks, the government said.

FibreCo was first announced at the end of last year, and created to make use of extra capacity on the state's existing 6,000 kilometres of fibre cabling. FibreCo will act as a wholesaler and sell connectivity to ISPs.

The network will target regional areas and is slated to be available across Cairns, Townsville, Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, and Mackay.

"By using the government's fibre optic network, we can provide significantly greater capacity than what's currently available in regional Queensland," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said previously.

"Currently, Telstra and Optus dominate the wholesale market in regional Queensland, and this makes it harder for new players to get on the scene."

In the state's recent Budget, FibreCo was handed AU$8.6 million for the 2019-20 financial year.

Minister for Small Business Shannon Fentiman said on Tuesday the network would be a win for small businesses.

"Internet is vital to small businesses, particularly in regional Queensland -- that's why we're establishing FibreCo to make best use of assets that are owned by the taxpayer," she said.

"There's no denying that the federal government's National Broadband Network has fallen short. We hope this initiative helps to pick up the slack."

The government added that FibreCo's office would be set up in August at The Precinct in Fortitude Valley, which in 2018 received part of AU$50 million over five years to be the state's startup hub.

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