Thursday, 26 August 2021 17:39

Victoria tips $73 million into NBN upgrades

The existing Business Fibre Zone in Echuca-Moama The existing Business Fibre Zone in Echuca-Moama

The Victorian Government is putting $73 million into the Victorian NBN State Program Fund to help finance new network infrastructure in certain parts of the state.

The money, to be held on trust by NBN Co, will be used to support selected area switch technology change programs.

In return, NBN Co will co-fund projects that deliver positive outcomes to Victorian communities and a threshold commercial return to the company.

The first project is to create eleven new NBN Business Fibre Zones in Benalla, Colac, Cranbourne South, Dromana, Hamilton, Lara, Pakenham North, Pakenham South, Portland, Warragul and Wonthaggi-Inverloch.

This makes a total of 295 zones around Australia, covering more than 860,000 business premises.

The new zones will allow RSPs to offer business-grade fibre connections to approximately 10,000 Victorian businesses in these areas at no upfront build cost from NBN Co, and no upfront connection cost if the RSP signs up for a three-year Enterprise Ethernet plan.

Enterprise Ethernet combines the highest wholesale upload speed tiers with dedicated onshore support for providers via the Business NBN Operations Centre. Options include prioritised data, high capacity symmetrical wholesale download and upload speed tiers from 10Mbps to close to 1Gbps.

The initiative will reduce the price variation for business broadband services in regional and rural areas compared to CBD zones.

Eligible Enterprise Ethernet customers within NBN Business Fibre Zones will see prices based on the same wholesale charge applicable to customers in CBD Zones.

"We are delighted to work with the Victorian Government to identify opportunities to co-invest in the development and delivery of new NBN network infrastructure to support the Connecting Victoria Program," said NBN Co CEO Stephen Rue.

"Small and medium businesses are the backbone of our great nation. And ongoing network investment to enhance digital infrastructure in Victoria will create jobs both in the medium term during the design and construction process, and over the long-term by stimulating greater productivity and the proliferation of a stronger, more vibrant digital economy in Victoria."

He added "When we made a substantial commitment to network upgrades towards the end of last year, we also announced that this would include significant funding to be made available for co-investment opportunities with state and territory governments and local councils.

"The Victorian Government has been the first to seize this opportunity, and the program we have announced today fits perfectly with the Victorian Government's overall $550 million Connecting Victoria Program."

The Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher said "Network investment in digital infrastructure in Victoria will create jobs both in the medium term, during the design and construction process, and over the long-term, by stimulating new businesses and greater productivity."

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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