Meeniyan battles slow lane
A GROUP of concerned Meeniyan citizens will petition the Federal Government not to leave the town out in the cold.
While the infrastructure for the National Broadband Network runs right through the middle of town (and has the potential to allow residents to reach internet speeds almost 50 times faster than currently exist), tech-whiz Richard Powell said Meeniyan was about to be left in the ultra-slow lane of the information superhighway.
“It technology terms, we’re going to be 100 years behind. We’ve been told we’re going to be on wireless at 12 megabits-per-second. We’re on 20 megabits-a-second at the moment through Telstra. We’re going to be almost halving our speed and they call that advancement,” he said.
Mr Powell said the NBN would offer residents in most other parts of Australia internet speeds approaching 1000 megabits-per-second.
“For things like developments in education and medicine, the NBN offers great potential. They talk up the idea that you’ll be able to work from home, with tree changers who are employed in the city having jobs that are transportable,” he said.
“What we’re talking about is Meeniyan being locked out of development. We can’t attract businesses that need that bandwidth, or high fliers that might be looking for a tree change.”
Another Meeniyan resident, Sally Hoskins, also fears the town will be permanently stuck in the slow lane.
“The town is already growing because of sewerage. It’s a pity the government has spent so much money, but has allowed us not to have access to this. It’s really important,” she said.
A spokesperson for NBN Co said the corporation had a “responsibility to build the network as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible”.
“Where the cost of fibre becomes too great – because of distance or density – NBN Co plans to use fixed wireless and satellite,” she said.
“NBN Co followed a process designed to meet the target of 93 per cent fibre coverage by first looking at the towns with over 1000 premises, and then adding those locations with as few as 500 premises where they are close enough to other network infrastructure.
“This assessment is not based on population figures, but on Geo-coded National Address Files (GNAFs) which also allow an assessment of settlement density. As mentioned, in terms of the cost of the rollout, it is not just the number of premises in a district that counts but how widely they are spread across an area.”
The spokesperson said that based on the model “neither Meeniyan nor Toora are scheduled to get a fibre service”.
“However the fixed wireless and satellite services that will be provided to those outside the reach of fibre will offer speeds at the wholesale level of 12Mbps, which is better than most people in metropolitan areas can currently achieve,” she said.
While Meeniyan may be destined to miss out, Venus Bay “is earmarked for fibre”.
“Again, this is based on GNAF data, not on population information,” she said.
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