Tag: Queensland

Rockhampton to consider own FTTP network


Queensland council plans own optical fibre network | The Register

Council goes its own way on NBN, plans cables and telco | Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Queensland)

My Comments

Local government has been instrumental in improving broadband coverage for its citizens by encouraging the installation of the necessary infrastructure. This may be a public effort funded primarily by council taxes or rates that are levied on property owners; or it could be a public-private effort where a company also funds the same effort.

These efforts may be used as a method of providing data infrastructure between the local government’s buildings but they have been used to provide broadband infrastructure to citizens and businesses in that area in a manner that competes with established operators. It can also be about the establishment of a company or co-operative that is focused on providing telecommunications or Internet services to the local community.

But such services have raised the ire of incumbent telecommunications and cable-TV businesses and this has had the powerful incumbent operators in the USA like Comcast and AT&T lobby for state-level legislation to strangle community telecoms and Internet infrastructure projects.

Australia has taken a new stab at this effort with the local government that governs Rockhampton in Queensland putting forward the idea of high-speed fibre-to-the-premises infrastructure to cover the city’s central business district (downtown) area.

Rockhampton Regional Council’s mayor, Margaret Strelow showed dissatisfaction with the National Broadband Network heading down the fibre-copper path which would lead to substandard broadband. Instead the council established their own high-speed fibre-to-the-premises infrastructure in Quay Street alongside other council-owned road and water works. This is a “dig-once” effort to bypass the NBN in order to achieve that “smart-city” goal that Rockhampton wanted.

The council will own the infrastructure but create a local non-profit community telco who leases that infrastructure and sells telephony and Internet service to the local community. It is in a similar manner to how some other cities have provided utilities and telecommunications services to their communities.

A question that will be raised regarding these community-focused deployments will include the ability for the NBN or other next-generation-broadband infrastructure providers to build infrastructure parallel to this infrastructure; a practice that is described as “build-over”. This may allow Rockhampton or similar communities to benefit from infrastructure-level competition.

Another question that I also see raised is whether other retail-level telecommunications or Internet providers will be allowed to lease the council-supplied infrastructure in order to sell their services in to that town. This could allow consumers and businesses to benefit from retail-level communications-service and can also include mobile-telecommunications providers using this infrastructure as a backbone for their base stations.

As communities, ISPs, developers and other entities lay down their own infrastructure for their own next-generation broadband services, it could be a chance to raise the issues of “build-over” infrastructure-level competition for locations along with the ability for retail ISPs to compete with each other on the same infrastructure. If these issues are worked out properly, it could lead to increased value for money when it comes to broadband Internet service.

Another NBN backhaul link to reach Darwin


Wayne Swan to hit switch on NBN regional link | The Australian

My Comments

Previously I mentioned a fibre link which would enable Darwin and Alice Springs to benefit from real competitive broadband service like the rest of Australia. But there is another link which would serve Darwin that the Acting Prime Minister, Wayne Swan is about to switch on at the time of publication.

But this one would provide a link between Darwin and Toowoomba in Queensland; and would be part of the National Broadband Network. It would pass Mount Isa, Tennant Creek, Emerald and Longreach, thus “lighting up” these towns for real broadband.

One of the main reasons in enabling Darwin with these fibre-optic broadband backhaul links is to exploit Darwin’s proximity to Asia. This means that Australia-Asia Internet links can be set up between these territories, allowing Australia to benefit from Asia being the newer business hub.

As these backhauls are laid down, it would be a chance to allow smaller communities to benefit from real Internet service. This is more so if there is encouragement for branch links to be extended out to the other communities that the trunks pass.

Brisbane plans its own fibre-optic next-generation broadband network


Brisbane plans own fibre network | The Australian

Brisbane strikes out on broadband  | The Age

My Comments

This project, which is instigated by the City of Brisbane, is similar to various British next-generation broadband projects that have been established by i3 Group. The key feature about these projects is that they use publicly-owned sewer mains to lay the fibre-optic cable rather than liaising with the local councils to dig up the roads for this purpose.

The main question is whether the service will be fibre-to-the-premises or fibre-to-the-cabinet which has a copper run to the premises. This also includes whether multi-tenant developments will have full fibre-wiring or copper wiring to each premises in the building.

There is an intention that the service will be a wholesale effort which means that Telstra, Optus and other ISPs can resell the Internet service like they do with ADSL broadband Internet or 3G wireless broadband.

This installation is backed by i3’s private funding and will be in a position to be in competition with National Broadband Network. But there may be a question about whether this will be like the way Box Hill and neighbouring suburbs were provided with mains electricity service by an entity ran by the Box Hill City Council (now City of Whitehorse) rather than the State Electricity Commission before the mains electricity market was reorganised and privatised in the 1990s. This could mean whether i3 have exclusive rights to provide next-generation broadband Internet infrastructure to Brisbane only or can provide in competition with NBN.

As well, another question would be whether the effort will extend to properties in Brisbane’s central activities district or be able to cover most or all of the suburbs in Brisbane.

This may end up with questions about private or municipal efforts to bring next-generation broadband to Australian towns and cities, including efforts to provide proper broadband to regional, rural and remote towns through this country; and whether these competing efforts will be threatened by the National Broadband Network or provide some healthy competition.

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