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NBN submission for North Coast still on track, Professor says


Zoe Satherley
5 March 2010
The announcement that several trial sites will be established for Australia’s new high-speed broadband network will not impact on Southern Cross University’s submission to see the North Coast region among the first in Australia to be included in the rollout.

Peter Croll, Professor of Information Technology at Southern Cross University, said the ‘first release’ sights announced this week by National Broadband Network (NBN) Co were chosen simply to test their technical capabilities in different geographical regions.

“The news on the ‘first release sites’ has been seen by some people in our region as us having lost our bid to be one of the early adopters of the scheme,” Professor Croll said.

“But this is not the case. Our aim in putting forward the submission to be among the first regions chosen in Australia for the early adoption of the scheme was twofold. Firstly, it was to campaign for the Eastern Regional Corridor to be one of the early adopters of the NBN project and secondly, it was to ensure our region was NBN-ready for whenever it arrives.”

Professor Croll said he had had unsolicited assurances from Mike Kaiser, NBN Co’s chief executive officer, that the company’s motivation was purely to test their design and construction methodologies and take those learnings and apply them to the national volume rollout when that occurs down the track.

Mr Kaiser said the sites - in suburbs of Melbourne, Townsville and Armidale, coastal communities south of Wollongong and a rural town in South Australia - were chosen for their ability to test various geographical, utility and housing features, along with testing the organisation’s capacity to operate in a number of regions simultaneously. These were not the criteria which would dictate the volume rollout when it commenced, he said.

“Therefore, the first release trial sites (which are only suburban areas, not whole towns) will not impact on the choice of the regions that will be selected when the volume rollout occurs,” Professor Croll said.

“Obviously, it would not be efficient to roll the NBN out on a suburb by suburb basis - especially when you consider the size of Australia. Each of the five trial sites only covers between 1000-3000 properties. Just between Brisbane and Sydney alone, the population is around 2 million so that's about 1000 times bigger than a trial site.

“Early adoption is not just about who is first but it's about being in the top half, and ideally, in the top half of that, so we don’t get left till last when our region has so much to offer.”

You can keep updated about the progress of the submission and the NBN scheme by visiting the Go Broadband web site:

Photo: Professor Peter Croll hands Southern Cross University’s NBN submission to federal Member for Page, Janelle Saffin, at the submission launch in January this year.