Brisbane is to receive a new open access fibre to the home network, pitched as complementing the National Broadband Network (NBN), aimed at delivering 100 megabits per second (Mbps) broadband to every home and business within four years.
The network build, first flagged in July, is set to begin in early 2011 and connect 15,000 homes per month and will utilise Brisbane’s sewer system and employ ‘microtrenching’ to help reduce costs — by as much as 60 per cent — and disruption associated wit the laying of fibre optic cables.
According to i3 Asia Pacific, the firm responsible for the rollout, these approaches are also faster than traditional methods of building communications infrastructure.
“The key to successful rollout of fibre to the home is cost," i3 Group chief executive, Elfed Thomas, said in a statement. “Our suite of technologies allows the cost per home to be up to 60% less than traditional build. We have completed a survey of the assets in Brisbane and conclude that these savings are realistic."
According to Thomas the new network would not compete with the NBN.
“Our work with Brisbane City Council complements the NBN’s work by ensuring millions of Australian citizens have access to next generation Internet services through a cost effective and commercially viable fibre optic network,” he said.
An NBN Co spokesperson said the announcement of the new network would not alter in any way its plans to continue rolling out the NBN.
“NBN Co has been given an objective to provide high-speed broadband access to all Australians,” the spokesperson said. “We have already announced a second release site in inner north Brisbane, and we are continuing with our plans.”
At least 3000 homes in inner north Brisbane suburbs are already slated to receive fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) access as part of the NBN second mainland release sites, with construction due to begin early next year.
Communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, was quick to highlight the positives of the new network, noting that the network proposal had not been subject to a cost benefit analysis or a detailed implementation study.
“The Mayor’s proposal clearly disputes Malcolm Turnbull’s claims that people living in cities already have adequate broadband,” Conroy said in a statement.
Brisbane Lord Mayor, Campbell Newman, claimed there would be no extra cost to the city’s ratepayers associated with the fibre rollout, “regardless of how or when it is delivered".