While the nationwide rollout of high-speed internet continues, any plans for Byron Shire are yet to be announced.
The federally owned National Broadband Network, or NBN Co, has been tasked with the job, which has been described as ‘the largest infrastructure project in Australia’s history.’
According to www.nbnco.com.au/maps, no town or village throughout Byron Shire is yet earmarked for fixed-line NBN, something which an NBN spokesperson confirmed. Residents in rural areas can expect a fixed-wireless NBN service ‘at some stage’, according to NBN Co’s website.
The NBN Co spokesperson added that the construction schedule is expected to be underway by mid-2016. ‘Ultimately no-one misses out as the NBN will be made available to every Australian family and business by 2020.’
Fixed line v wireless
Under a new deal between telcos and NBN Co last December, federal communications minister Malcolm Turnbull said there will be a ‘shift to a multi-technology NBN’.
Previously, Labor had committed fixed wireless and satellite technology to cover regional and remote Australia, as well as fibre to the premises (FTTP) in urban areas.
The Echo understands the Abbott government’s shift to a multi-technology mix means the NBN will incorporate Telstra’s and Optus’s hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) networks as well as other fibre solutions, such as FTTN (node) and FTTB (basement) for multi-dwelling units.
Considered much superior – and without Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) – a fixed ‘fibre to the premises’ connection in Byron Shire can only be found at the new Tallowood estate in Mullumbimby. It is expected there will be fixed-line fibre for towns and villages where it is possible to do so.
North Byron Parklands in Yelgun also has fibre optic cabling in place, which was installed ahead of the recent Falls Festival. A spokesperson told The Echo, ‘This was an arrangement that was made in partnership with North Byron Parklands, Falls and Splendour, so Telstra coverage at North Byron Parklands is first rate for Telstra mobile users using 3G/4G.’
At the time of the new deal, ‘About $30 billion’ would be saved on the NBN rollout, Mr Turnbull said. He claimed it would ‘bring forward its completion by around four years, compared to the previous fibre-to-the-premises rollout.’
But according to Crikey’s Paddy Manning, Telstra and Optus were the winners in the new NBN deal, not the public.
He said, ‘The householder will bear more of the final, unpredictable cost of getting from the street into the home, but at least they will have an upgrade path to pure fibre to the premises. Not so the millions of homeowners who will be stuck with souped-up hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) and no upgrade path to fibre to the premises at all. Ironically, the richest third of Australian homes may end up with the inferior network.