Bourke selected as an essential NBN gateway

Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 7:31pm

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today announced that the north-west NSW town of Bourke will be one of ten towns across Australia that will have a satellite ground station. This ground station will act as an essential satellite gateway, helping deliver fast broadband to rural and remote communities across Australia

The Bourke ground station will be operational in 2015 and contribute to providing between 15,000 and 20,000 Australians with broadband speeds of up to 12 megabits per second.

“For too long, people living in rural and regional Australia have had to live with second class telecommunications infrastructure. Through the rollout of the Gillard Government’s National Broadband Network all Australians will have access to fast affordable broadband – either through fibre to the home, fixed wireless, or satellite services.

“Like water and electricity, the Gillard Government sees fast broadband as an essential utility that should be made available to all Australians, no matter where they live.

NBN Co is operating an Interim Satellite Service that is transforming the lives and businesses of people in the remotest parts of Australia.The ISS offers a broadband service better than many people receive in capital cities today. Since it was launched on 1 July 2011, over 6,000 homes and businesses have been connected.

“Through the NBN, the government will also deliver uniform national wholesale pricing. This means that people living in Bourke, Walgett, and Cobar will pay the same prices for NBN services as people in Sydney, Newcastle, and Wollongong.”

The NBN will deliver tremendous economic benefits to rural and regional Australia through increased productivity, greater employment opportunities, and better access to information and services. These benefits will arise across the full range of sectors from health care, to agriculture, and small business.

The NBN also means that people living in towns like Bourke and other north-west NSW towns will have less need to travel to get specialist services, saving time and money. Through the NBN, people will be able to obtain face-to-face assistance online rather than having to travel to a shopfront.

There was no mention in the press release about if or when Wilcannia and other areas in the far west can expect such services. An email has been sent to Senator Conroy asking this question. A reply will be published as soon as it is received.