Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, is welcoming the NBN Co switch-on next month in Wangaratta, and encouraging people and business owners to take advantage of the faster and more reliable internet connection.
“Wangaratta will be the first major centre in North East Victoria to enjoy the NBN fixed line* service, with almost 9000 homes and businesses being able to connect to better internet,” Ms McGowan said. “The opportunities delivered by the NBN will be significant for businesses and productivity, and will improve access for online study, and patientcare through telehealth services. People at home will also enjoy increased bandwidth to stream video and content faster to their computers, phones and tablets.”
The NBN Telstra Forum and Expo held at the Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre today was a chance for locals and business owners to learn more about applying the NBN technology available. Ms McGowan said faster, more reliable internet would help drive innovation in agriculture, business and entrepreneurship. “I’m looking forward to seeing products and services yet to be developed that will help boost the economy due to the NBN,” she said.
The NBN rollout is progressing throughout Indi, with the fixed line rollout underway in Wodonga and planned for Benalla. Almost 80 towns will receive fixed wireless* coverage through 57 towers. NBN is expected to cover well over 66,000 premises in Indi when completed.
Constituents recently connected to the NBN fixed wireless have reported the benefits. Ms McGowan said Acheron-based small business owner Bev Dick has recently connected to fixed wireless and thought she would never receive fast internet in her area. “She now has enough data to run her business and keep up with the rest of the world,” Ms McGowan said.
However parts of Indi still have major telecommunications access issues. Peter Beggs of Mitta Mitta recently wrote to Ms McGowan about his internet and landline services. “NBN plans to service Mitta Mitta and many other towns with the SkyMuster satellite*,” Ms McGowan said.
Ms McGowan has called on the Government and NBN to co-locate NBN fixed wireless technology with new mobile phone towers following Round One of the Mobile Black-Spot Programme. “I provided NBN Co with a list of 24 locations which could be serviced by fixed wireless rather than the Satellite service,” Ms McGowan said. “I’m calling on NBN to investigate the numerous opportunities to expand fixed wireless in these key areas to maximise the efficiency of this telecommunications rollout.”
Ms McGowan said the surrounding areas of Beechworth offered an example of where NBN could expand the fixed wireless network. “The communities of Chiltern and Indigo valleys have called for better telecommunications access and I continue to lobby on their behalf,” she said.
*Fixed line=Fibre To The Node *Fixed wireless=wireless signal from tower to premise *Satellite=signal to fixed receiver to premise