The Broken Hill fibre backbone link, part of the Federal Government’s $250 million Regional Backbone Blackspots Program (RBBP), has finally gone live two months later than previously planned.
Launched by communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, the fibre optic link is 1150 kilometres long and extends from Gawler in South Australia to Broken Hill in New South Wales and then Shepparton in Victoria, connecting towns such as Mildura, Swan Hill, Kerang, and Renmark.
"This fibre backbone infrastructure will give retail service providers the opportunity to offer better broadband services for around 137,000 people along the route,” Conroy said in a statement.
"Experience from the other completed RBBP links has proven that families and small businesses along the 1150 kilometre route can expect retailers to offer faster speeds, cheaper prices and bigger download quotas.”
According to Conroy, the delay in the completion of the Broken Hill fibre link, which was pegged for September 2011, was due to the extensive flooding throughout Victoria at the beginning of 2011 but still came in on budget.
Natural disasters also plagued Nextgen’s rollout of fibre earlier this year in Queensland and also between the $125 million Darwin and Tennant Creek link in the Northern Territory.
"I congratulate Nextgen Networks on the completion of this important regional fibre backbone link in the face of some significant challenges.
"The Geraldton RBBP link, launched earlier this year, is providing speeds that are up to 10 times faster, with double the download quota, for the same monthly price."
Four of the five links have now been completed, he said, with the $12.6 million Victor Harbor link and the South West Gippsland link completed in March.
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