Qld FibreCo picks up NBN slack
Shannon Fentiman: Lighting up the regions with state-owned fibre
The Queensland government, together with Powerlink Queensland and Energy Queensland, have jointly launched FibreCo Queensland to provide internet connectivity to regional Queensland at significantly lower prices.
FibreCo Queensland will light up thousands of kilometres of spare state-owned fibre capacity to deliver better broadband services to the regions in Queensland.
State Small Business and Acting Innovation Minister Shannon Fentiman said the launch of FibreCo Queensland would “pick up the slack” in areas where the federal government’s National Broadband Network had “fallen short.”
“The NBN has been an unmitigated failure, particularly in regional Queensland,” she told InnovationAus.com.
“That’s because the LNP cut corners – they were more concerned about their image in Sydney and Melbourne and didn’t care about the impact on businesses here in Queensland.
“A strong and reliable internet connection is vital to growing a business and creating jobs in our state.
“We’re unlocking thousands of kilometres of government-owned optical fibre to create more capacity in the network. This will provide faster, more reliable internet for people in regional Queensland and will also put downward pressure on prices,” Ms Fentiman said.
FibreCo Queensland will tap 6,000 kilometres worth of spare capacity on the government-owned optical fibre network to sell wholesale backhaul services to telecommunications companies, such as retail service providers and internet service providers, at competitive prices.
The launch of FibreCo Queensland is expected to bring additional competition to the wholesale market in regional Queensland, which is currently dominated by major carriers such as Telstra and Optus. This is expected to eventually help bring internet prices down.
FibreCo Queensland's initial work program will see it connect parts of the state’s existing fibre network to six NBN Points of Interconnect (PoI) internet hubs to deliver greater connectivity to areas including Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.
While the existing state optical fibre network runs mainly along the east coast of the state, the Queensland government will look to explore opportunities to access third-party optical fibre capacity in the future to provide the same service to other parts of regional Queensland.
The launch of the state-owned entity comes after the Queensland government committed $8 million over the next two years in the most recent state budget to run FibreCo Queensland.
Energy Queensland company secretary Jane Nant and Powerlink chief executive Merryn York have been appointed as board members of FibreCo Queensland.
The company’s independent chair and independent directors will be appointed in the coming weeks, the Queensland government said.