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Broadband for our region - an opportunity lost

Posted by Edgar Adams on 6 October 2020
Broadband for our region - an opportunity lost

So, having been dragged into admitting that copper, as lauded by the wonderful former Minister for Communications and Broadband, Malcolm Turnbull, our Federal Government has finally conceded that fibre optic cable is actually faster.  The result being that the Government will now spend billions more completing a job that should have been done properly in the first place.

One of the lasting legacies of the Abbott/Turnbull era will be how our country went from potentially being a world leader in telecommunications to winding up as a third world country.

It's ten years since the Rudd Labor Government came out with the idea of a national broadband network that would see fibre to the premises across the nation.

It was without doubt the most forward thinking move since the Snowy River Scheme.

Trouble was Telstra with their ancient copper network and no intention of modernising did all they could to kill it off and they were supported by the cable TV networks and some media companies who were stuck with this ancient technology.  Together, these dinosaurs managed to convince Malcolm Turnbull who was Minister for Communications to bastardise the roll-out by claiming "He" could do it quicker and cheaper using a mix of technologies.

Of course we can't exclude Tony Abbott who played his usual Liberal/Labor  Labor/Liberal politics as well. In the end Central Coast businesses and residents were the losers.

The people who knew better said it would not work and now we know it hasn't.

At that time CCBR was instrumental in getting a local leadership group together, along with international communications guru and broadband champion Paul Budde, and make a bid to have fibre optic cable rolled out across the whole Central Coast region with fibre-to-the-premises.  We were to be the first to get it and it would have put this region ahead of the cities Sydney included.

In the end, it turns out, NBNCo had no idea where the Central Coast was and while Gosford to West Gosford got FttP, Erina a major business district got FttN. The other Point of Interconnect was Long Jetty, to service the northern areas of the region! This didn't work and had to be moved to the Berkeley Vale Exchange which services Long Jetty and surrounds.

So, in the end the northern areas were initially left out.

Having said that, one of the most disappointing aspects of bringing high speed broadband to the Coast was that most business people had no idea of its value and weren't interested in finding out.

Edgar Adams

Author:Edgar Adams

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