NBN rollout set for new year

Super-fast broadband is on its way to Sunbury and the Macedon Ranges next year – but that’s still not soon enough for some residents and businesses.

The latest NBN rollout plan schedules 2400 premises in Romsey and Lancefield, 1390 from Ashbourne to Woodend and 14,400 in Sunbury and Diggers Rest to be connected to the NBN by fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) by March next year.

A further 3030 premises in Bulla, Gisborne and Riddells Creek will have fixed wireless connections by January 2017.

But McEwen Labor MP Rob Mitchell said the new schedule was “a great blow” to suburbs such as Sunbury, Lancefield, Romsey and Gisborne, which are experiencing high growth and can’t afford to wait until next year.

“The three-year rollout plan was a second- rate version of the NBN proposed by the previous government and is not realistic and not achievable,” Mr Mitchell said.

“The issue our communities face is that, under this roll-out, we will only get a second rate NBN using old and poor-grade copper to the home [with FTTN connections].

“This means, in comparison with inner city suburbs, we will not get an equivalent service.”

Liberal Victorian senator Scott Ryan said the construction schedule, released on October 20, detailed plans to network 9.5 million premises nationwide.

“The Coalition government recognises that the role of the internet is changing and that consumers want fast broadband as soon as possible,” Senator Ryan said.

“The higher bandwidth that NBN services will facilitate allows for households and businesses to do their everyday tasks more efficiently and effectively.

“Internet access is important for our community and will transform education, healthcare and other critical online services.

“The plan demonstrates the government’s commitment to closing the digital divide in Australia,” he said.