The rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) will reach Cairns’ city suburbs within the next year, with work to start in other areas of Cairns within three years.
However, towns in the Douglas region were conspicuously absent from a statement released by Cairns Regional Council yesterday.
Work is set to start within the next 12 months on the fibre optic network in the Cairns suburbs of Bungalow, Cairns City, Cairns North, Manunda, Mount Sheridan, Parramatta Park, Portsmith, Westcourt and White Rock.
Between December 2013 and December 2014 the network will then roll out to Bayview Heights, Bentley Park, Brinsmead, Clifton Beach, Earlville, Edge Hill, Edmonton, Freshwater, Gordonvale, Holloways Beach, Kewarra Beach, Machans Beach, Palm Cove, Redlynch, Smithfield, Stratford, Trinity Beach, Trinity Park, Whitfield and Woree.
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Council CEO Lyn Russell welcomed the announcement.
“This is fantastic news for all residents of this region,” Council CEO Lyn Russell said.
“The rollout will provide a major boost to employment and business activity, which will feed into other areas of the regional economy.”
Council’s Economic Development and Innovation Manager Fiona Wilson said the NBN represented the next generation in broadband technology and services for business and residential consumers.
“The NBN will bring opportunities for Cairns and Far North Queensland businesses to explore new ways to do business – such as online sales or eCommerce, sophisticated online marketing to the rest of the world, and online collaboration with other businesses using high-speed and high-quality video conferencing and transfer of documents,” she said.
“For residential consumers, the NBN means opportunities to use online health services, access to high-quality online education and resources, and new entertainment options. It effectively means the removal of the digital divide between FNQ and capital cities.”
Once the infrastructure is delivered, consumers in the optical fibre rollout areas will be able to buy high-speed broadband services with download speeds of up to 100 Mbps from their service provider of choice.
“We have been working toward this for a long time and we look forward to further rollout throughout the Cairns region and the rest of Far North Queensland,” Ms Wilson said.
Council's media spokesperson, Lea Guy, said NBN Co. had outlined the plan for delivery to Cairns City, its suburbs and northern beaches, however there was no mention of when, or if, Douglas residents and businesses would receive the new technology.
"Council officers have been in discussions with NBN Co. with regard to rollout in the Douglas area. While these discussions have been positive, we can’t speculate on any impending announcement by NBN Co.," Ms Guy said.
The announcement comes as a blow to a region desperate for new business investment to reduce its heavy reliance on the tourism industry.
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