National Broadband Network
National Broadband Network

State’s answer to country’s NBN crisis

WHILE the rest of Australia grumbles and gripes about a weak NBN connection, the Queensland government is taking action, announcing plans to develop its own version of the fibre optic network.

The plans, introduced by the newly re-elected Palaszczuk government, will help regional Queenslanders gain access to cheaper, more efficient internet with a broadband to rival the NBN.

Since the national broadband network rolled out in 2009, Australia's telecommunications industry ombudsman has received a total of 27,195 complaints about the service. Complaints have more than doubled in the past financial year.

Queensland's grand plan to bump up its connectivity is already in the works, it's now just a matter of when.

Yesterday, the state's Innovation and Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the government had already launched an investigation into figuring out how much fibre optic cable it will be able to use.

"We've just started an investigation to see if there's an opportunity for us to use more than 4000kms of fibre optic cables to open it up to business and Queensland communities," Ms Jones told Win News.

"For too long, the NBN has become a bit of a joke here in Queensland. So many people in regional Queensland just can't get the internet connectivity they need.

"So what we've just announced is that we're going to start a new project where we're going to look at a way to commercialise or open up more than 4000kms of fibre optic cable that's owned by government corporations and open that up to the public so we can get faster internet speeds across Queensland," she said.

While the idea is in its early stages, a statement reaffirmed by the state's previous Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch when she spoke to the Courier Mail.

"At this stage, we're about to do a research market sounding on what the costs would be but certainly if there's a way that we can provide high-speed cheap internet access to Queensland business and communities, then we're definitely going to look at that," Ms Jones said.

Energy Queensland, a company owned by the government and in possession of fibre optic cable, has already been cited as an example.

It has cables running from "Tweed Heads up to up to the Torres Strait, and from Brisbane across to Birdsville" and is one of the widest networks in the state.

In its bid for re-election, the Palaszczuk government made "digital inclusion" a key component of its policy platform.

"Labor supports the formation of community and industry alliances to aggregate demand and funding for networks that extend the reach of the NBN in regional Queensland," it reads.

"Labor also encourages major telecommunications carriers, electricity transmission providers and road and rail authorities to co-operate in the development of open access fibre optic and wireless communications infrastructure."