DECMEBER 7, 2009 -- The Australian Government has announced plans for 6,000 km of regional fiber broadband backbone links. The links are the first within the Government’s National Broadband Network (NBN) project on mainland Australia.
"This priority $250 million investment will directly benefit more than 395,000 people in 100 regional locations and create new jobs across five states and the Northern Territory," said the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy.
Leighton Holdings owned Nextgen Networks received a contract to construct the new broadband backbone infrastructure under the $250 million Regional Backbone Blackspots Program. Nextgen was selected through a competitive tender process.
Nextgen will build backbone transmission links and provide more than 100 access points en-route to six priority “blackspot” locations:
- Geraldton, Western Australia
- Darwin, Northern Territory
- Emerald and Longreach, Queensland
- Broken Hill, New South Wales
- Victor Harbor, South Australia
- South West Gippsland, Victoria
These locations were chosen following a public consultation process to identify competition and capacity shortfalls, the Government says.
The Government adds that Nextgen is also making “a substantial investment” towards the project and will build, operate, and maintain the infrastructure for five years after its completion. Nextgen expects the investment to create more than 1,000 full-time equivalent jobs and provide economic stimulus to regional locations during the construction and operation of the networks.
In addition, assistance will be provided to regional communities to take full advantage of the new infrastructure through $5 million funding for regional NBN coordinators.