Construction is officially underway to connect almost 40,000 Mid North Coast homes and businesses to the nbn network.
Crews will be on the ground in parts of Port Macquarie, Camden Haven, Lake Cathie and Wauchope checking pits and pipes, laying the fibre backbone to the network and installing node cabinets throughout the area.
People are expected to be able to make the switch from mid-next year, said nbn spokesperson for NSW, Marcela Balart.
“Currently, 2150 homes and businesses on the outskirts of Port Macquarie, including parts of Kendall North, Fernbank Creek, Hibbord, Brombin, Beechwood North, Redbank, Mount Cairncross, Comboyne and Telegraph Point, are able to access the nbn network through nbn’s fixed wireless service,” Ms Balart said.
“Works are underway to connect an additional 130 Lake Innes premises in February 2017.
“Some premises are also eligible to connect to the nbn through the Sky Muster satellite service which has been available to regional and remote Australians since April of this year.”
Ms Balart said the commencement of work was terrific news for the area.
“It means the entire community will be fully connected to the nbn network once construction is complete,” she added.
By mid-2018, all Port Macquarie residents and businesses will have access to a network which is both fast and reliable; something that has been desperately needed in regional Australia for many years, said Ms Balart.
A recent study commissioned by nbn shows Australians are expected to spend an extra 22 days on their home internet this year than in 2014, with regional people accounting for the biggest increase in usage spending 1.7 hours more on their home internet per week day.
“Not only are people online now more than ever before, we’re using it to do more things such as working from home, setting up small businesses from home, studying online, shopping online and organising our lives online.”
People connected to the nbn network also rate internet access significantly more important to achieving their occupational goals with efficiency and productivity on the job the greatest impact for regional workers.
“As our lifestyles evolve and we move further into the digital age, fast and reliable broadband will be essential to areas such as work-life, business, health, education, entertainment and leisure,” she said.
“Bridging Australia’s digital divide is vital for areas like Port Macquarie. You shouldn’t have to live in major cities to compete locally or globally, and the nbn™ network allows people to do just that.”
The news was also welcomed by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council mayor Peter Besseling.
“The nbn network provides enormous economic and social opportunities for regional communities such as the Port Macquarie-Hastings area,” the mayor said.
“It will be one of the key drivers that connect our community to external markets and people, helping remove the barriers that often exist in the more isolated sections of the area.
“As a rapidly growing regional city, access to fast and efficient broadband networks that have the capacity to deal with large data transfers, is fundamental to our future growth and prosperity.”
Nationally, more than three million Australian homes and businesses are able to connect to the nbn network with more than a million of those in NSW.