Member for Cairns Michael Healy says the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to unlock more than 6000 kilometres of state-owned fibre optic cable will help to boost internet connectivity and potentially lower prices in Cairns. .
Following a commitment during the 2017 election, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the government had set up a new entity – ‘FibreCo Queensland’ to partner with internet service providers.
Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said FibreCo would use the extra capacity on the state-owned fibre optic network to offer faster, more reliable internet to homes and businesses in Cairns.
“We’re freeing up extra capacity on the government-owned fibre network to provide faster and more reliable internet to locals,” he said.
Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said the Federal Government’s NBN has been nothing short of a failure in the Cairns region.
“Locals often tell me their internet is not as fast as what was promised under the NBN,” he said.
“By using the extra capacity in the government’s fibre network, we can provide up to 10 times the internet capacity that’s currently available in regional Queensland.”
Innovation Minister Kate Jones who will oversee the project roll-out said internet connectivity was vital to growing the regional Queensland economy.
“We also know that by helping businesses to be more connected, we’ll create more and more jobs in regional Queensland,” she said.
“For too long, regional Queensland has been getting a raw deal. The Federal Government’s NBN has been an unmitigated failure.”
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has found that regional Queensland has some of the least competitive internet markets in Australia.
Ms Jones said opening up the government-owned fibre network was about levelling the playing field and encouraging competition to help deliver better quality internet for people and businesses in regional Queensland.
Mark Frost, managing director of regional service provider On Q Communications, said FibreCo Qld backhaul would complement his company’s existing optical fibre footprint.
“For a number of years we have worked to build substantial access networks across regional Queensland,” Mr Frost said.
“This additional backhaul capacity allows us to connect those networks to the rest of the country. It effectively levels the playing field for us against the incumbent backhaul service providers, and in the end our business customers will be the ones who benefit in the long-term”.
“The availability of backhaul capacity will enable us to deliver not only more cost effective services to our small business customers, but additionally also services that are not only more reliable but less congested as well.”
Andrew Roberts, chief executive officer of telecommunications provider Field Solutions Group (FSG) that is focussed on the delivery of services to regional and remote Australia, welcomed the announcement.
“Delivering to regional and remote Australia especially to the states farmers is very challenging,” Mr Roberts said.
“Access the state government is looking to provide will not only make the services more cost-effective to deliver but will increase reliability and capacity in regional areas.
“We are looking forward to being part of the increased competition this will enable and support businesses and consumers in these areas.”