WELL, for two lucky towns on the peninsula it will have taken only 14 years from first to final promise – a “super-fast broadband network” that will enable homes and businesses to join the “information superhighway”.
Yes, the National Broadband Network is coming to Mornington and Mt Martha next year, NBN Co announced last Wednesday.
Spokesman Michael Moore said the company, which is owned by the federal government, had added 18 towns to its “green maps” showing “build preparation work for the … network has started for a further 70,400 homes and businesses across Victoria”.
Mr Moore said parts of Mornington and Mt Martha “have entered pre-construction phase”. This means preparing existing Telstra pits and pipes for the network.
He said more than one million homes and businesses could now connect to the network. “We have a target of eight million homes and businesses connected by 2020,” he said.
Joining Mornington and Mt Martha “on the map” are the coastal villages of Blind Bight, Cannons Creek and Warneet, nearby Tooradin and Koo Wee Rup as well as Officer and Pakenham further north.
Others include Jan Juc, Torquay, Clifton Springs, Drysdale, Indented Head, Portarlington, St Leonards, Ballan and Wangaratta.
Mr Moore said the towns would see “the Multi-Technology Mix (MTM) model, including Fibre to the Node”. MTM also includes so-called hybrid fibre-coaxial technologies.
NBN Co is using Telstra’s old copper telephone lines that run between the street and your house. Copper wires from several houses will be connected to a node with its fast broadband fibre optic cable. This was the nub of the huge political battle fought between Labor and the Liberal-Nationals Coalition after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced his government’s NBN plan in 2009 – Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) for 93 per cent of all homes at a cost of, well, $44 billion if you believed Labor, $50 billion not long after when problems sent costs soaring, and $94 billion if you believed Malcolm Turnbull just before the 2013 election, when he said the Coalition could do it for $29.5 billion by dropping Labor’s more expensive Fibre to the Premises plan.
The NBN has been a well-inflated political football for two peninsula federal politicians – Bruce Billson and Greg Hunt. In Opposition until September 2013, the two MPs used every opportunity to criticise the Labor government’s plan for the NBN, claiming peninsula residents would have to wait for up to 15 years “for an internet service they would otherwise already have” if the Howard government had been re-elected in 2007.
Mr Hunt enticed communications spokesman (now minister) Malcolm Turnbull to a community meeting at Rosebud in September 2012 where almost 300 people complained about poor internet connection.
In the same month Mr Billson said the NBN was “taking too long to be rolled out, costs too much, and was not prioritising the areas with the worst broadband”.
Last week Mr Billson said “18,400 premises covering all of Mornington and part of Mt Martha are next to get NBN, around a decade earlier than expected under the previous Labor government”.
“I am heartened NBN Co is now including Mornington and Mt Martha in the [Abbott] government’s first round of fibre-to-the-node connections. Several premises can be connected through one central port. This differs to fibre to the premises, which requires a separate connection for each home or business.”
He said the NBN had “delivered speeds [to enable] streaming up to 18 high-definition videos simultaneously or other bandwidth intensive applications such as online learning”.
The News understands that Dromana, Rye and Shoreham are listed for construction over the next 18 months.
- The NBN is being installed in premises at Frankston South from Sweetwater Creek to Humphries Rd including parts of Overport Rd. In May so-called pre-construction work started in Mt Eliza. About 10,000 premises in Karingal and a small part of Frankston have access. Details: www.nbnco.com.au