SECOND CLASS SERVICE
REGIONAL NBN advocates have slammed the Abbott government’s broadband plan, saying abolishing the fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network would disadvantage regional centres and their surrounding towns.
Armidale-based NBN community co-ordinator Alun Davies, who had 40 years as a technician with Telstra specialising in broadband and mobiles, said Tamworth missing out on the NBN would be a “total disaster”.
Mr Davies said if Tamworth missed out, the whole region would suffer, making Armidale a fibre island in the New England North West.
“What it does is condemn Tamworth to a second class telecommunication service and the result is a second class city,” Mr Davies said.
“Fibre-to-the-premises is a very simple network, providing the fibre directly to every home and business.
“It’s more expensive but once you’ve done it you don’t need to change it.”
Mr Davies said with the fibre-to-the-node service, download speeds will vary according to where residents live on the line and by the condition of the copper.
“With fibre you can be 60km from the exchange and you’ll get exactly the same speeds as some 10km from the exchange,” Mr Davies said.
“Every one of those nodes is highly complex and diabolically complicated and it’s impossible to future-proof them.”
Mr Davies said he believed the NBN should be rolled out as it was intended in regional Australia, but the fibre-node network could be introduced in metropolitan areas.
Former member for New England and NBN champion Tony Windsor said he was disappointed with the decision, saying the hypocrisy of the situation was “mind-boggling”.
“Tony Abbott wants to be the big infrastructure man for the nation but that’s more about building roads in Melbourne and Sydney,” Mr Windsor said.
“If he wants to be that, the NBN is the infrastructure they need.”
Inverell councillor and engineer David Jones said Tamworth should be “bellowing like crazy” over the NBN.
Mr Jones, who has a consulting business as a civil and structural engineer, said regional MPs should be concerned and fighting for the NBN.
“Armidale’s now complete and they have a huge advantage over every other centre in the New England,” Mr Jones said.
“It’s unthinkable that they’d contemplate changing it.”