The National Broadband Network and Wollongong

On the Prime Minister's recent trip to Wollongong, Internetrix's Managing Director, Geoff McQueen, questioned the PM on the proposed roll out of the National Broadband Network (NBN). McQueen suggested that Wollongong be considered as a pilot site for the rollout of the NBN because the city lacks the benefits of cable internet like Australia's capital cities, yet has some fibre to the home installed.

The National Broadband Network is a $43 billion program aimed at delivering superfast broadband to Australian homes and workplaces, and is expected to take eight years to complete. Tasmania has been selected as the launch state for the NBN.

The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) is currently deliberating on a pilot site for the mainland.

"I think we can afford to really take this one and say no, we want a chance" said Mr. McQueen in a recent interview with ABC Radio Wollongong. "We've got infrastructure in the ground that other places don't have and we've got a great university turning out a lot of IT graduates."

"Cordeaux Heights was built with fibre to the home installed in many of the businesses and houses there, and that's the technology that's underpinning the National Broadband Network," stated McQueen.

In a discussion with the Minister in charge of the DBCDE, Senator Stephen Conroy, Geoff McQueen managed to press the point further, with the Senator apparently appearing quite favourable to the proposal. Conroy suggested a meeting between McQueen and Wollongong's local ALP member and representative, Sharon Bird, to draft a proposal for Wollongong's bid for the pilot site.

"What the senator said to me last night is that we need to have a chat with I think it's Telstra who are responsible for those cables in the ground and just check what their status is. Whether it was just an experiment they did which is no longer useful or whether the opportunity really does exist," said Mr. McQueen.

"Then it would be a matter of building a business case with some consensus from council to actually have something exciting and newsworthy to talk about for our region on the front foot for a bit of a change."

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