NBN4Bendigo welcomes faster broadband

Article image - NBN4Bendigo welcomes faster broadband Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Conroy and NBN4Bendigo Loddon Mallee Chair, Bruce Winzar during a special meeting with Working Group members and regional stakeholders. The NBN4Bendigo Loddon Mallee Working Group has welcomed news that fixed wireless and satellite networks used by NBN Co. to connect small towns to high speed broadband will be much faster than initially planned.

NBN Co. recently announced that it has doubled the speeds for fixed wireless and more than tripled the satellite speed, now both capable of up to 25 Megabits per second for downloads.

NBN4Bendigo Loddon Mallee Chair, Bruce Winzar, said the satellite and fixed wireless used to connect high speed broadband to rural and remote areas would be in place before much of the fibre network, so regional areas needed to start thinking about how they will take advantage of it.

“The Bendigo region has a long history of responding to innovation and the take up of new technologies. We had the first e-Commerce association, the first community telco and the first regional Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) service in Australia. We also pioneered virtual learning and telehealth programs in the Loddon Mallee region.

“The challenge now is for our connected communities to become intelligent communities by planning to make the best use of this technology when it arrives,” said Mr Winzar.

Regional Development Australia (RDA) Loddon Mallee Committee Chair, Jenny Dawson, said that the higher broadband speed would bring even greater benefits to the Loddon Mallee region.

“This is fantastic news for us, and means some of our smaller towns will be getting faster Internet than capital cities currently enjoy — and sooner too. With the rollout of wireless starting before the fibre connections, smaller communities will have the edge over their city counterparts by the end of 2015.

“This infrastructure will be transformative for our rural areas and give them the tools they need to better access health and other services, as well as opening up more possibilities for business. There is now a window of opportunity for our region to capitalise on the impressive speed of satellite and fixed wireless, before the national fibre rollout is completed by 2021,” said Ms Dawson.

The fixed wireless network is expected to cover parts of eight council areas and will begin to be switched on in stages from late 2013 to 2015.

Communities with less than 1000 premises in the local government areas of Loddon, Macedon Ranges, Mitchell, Mount Alexander, Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Greater Bendigo and Hepburn will be connected.