Regional resellers believe the roll-out of the NBN in their towns would dramatically bolster business, their social environment and reduce population stress in the cities. In fact the resellers that CRN spoke to this week couldn't wait to be connected.
However, while the majority supported the NBN, there remained a level of government scepticism among them. They wondered about the minority Government's ability to govern and wanted more for the 7 percent of Australia that won't receive fibre. Others thought the Coalition would have eventually given them what they needed.
Many asked CRN if we knew when their turn was. The Gillard Government has not yet revealed any details although Senator Conroy said he planned to discuss the roll-out schedule with NBN Co "in the coming days."
Indepedents Tony Windor (New England) and Rob Oakeshott (Lyne) backed a Labor Government that prioritises regional Australia for the roll-out.
Here's what regional resellers told CRN.
Peter Kazacos, executive chairman, Hostech
"As long as it's not the marginal seat region and in all areas, I'm pretty happy.
"My scepticsm is that they may just lay it out in the marginal seats and the Independent seats and the Green seats. The big issue is that the Independent can decide to vote any which way. If we annoy them are they going to vote against us?
"It's good that they're not going to put it in the capital cities first. We do need NBN but we don't need it in the capital cities yet, it's the correct focus."
"Access to video conferencing that actually works [would be good]. Up until now without having huge bandwidth to get video conferencing you get pixelated [video]. You really need the higher quality such as telepresence from Cisco, and for that you need high bandwidth.
"By having the high bandwidth in those regional areas they can become part of the community. I think it's quite powerful. That's why it's got to go to business and regional schools, [so the schools] can get people to come and talk to them without having to be there.
"There's still a fair bit of negativity from the Liberal camp, but I think it was based around the consumer position. I don't know how you can think connecting businesses is a waste of time."
Dr Eric Heyde, CEO, Cirrus Communications
"I think the NBN is a good idea. It does actually create economic benefits to the regions that the other approaches don't.
"This new change where the wholesale price will be the same as regional areas is a very interesting angle. We spent quite a lot of money in backhauling our services back into metropolitan areas in order to get metro pricing.
"We deliver wireless networks in regional areas and metro areas. We know how hard it is to provide a coverage that's meaningful to customers. So I think the Coalition's policy was one that was unfortunately doomed. We have 200 sites ourselves and I know how little of the country we cover. We almost don't cover the country; there were a lot of technical and commercial problems with that policy.
"I think a flaw and problem with the NBN is the 7 percent that's due to be covered by wireless. I think that practically speaking they're not going to be able to create a sustainable wireless model for that sort of profile of the market.
"I think NBN is great for the community, it's exactly what these regional centres need."
Matthew Drane, D2K, Queensland
"I'm extremely disappointed in the choice of government, no doubt about that.
"As far as the NBN being pushed forward, [I'm] certainly happy with that. Bigger and better faster broadband is definitely going to benefit business from the point of view that we're able to do a lot more hosted solutions, build out data centres in remote locations where traditionally we were limited by bandwidth to do them.
"I would've preferred the Coalition's broadband policy because I believe regardless of what's going to happen more people will be connected. I believe what the Coalition was proposing would have inevitably got to a national broadband network regardless of it being random projects.
"[Labor] promises will become something like, 'Oh look that part of the population is considered fringe and we'll give them mobile and satellite broadband'."
Mathew Dickerson, Anittel, Dubbo (CRN columnist)
"Forget about Labor, or the Coalition and the independents - what was really pleasing for me was that technology was a major election issue. I really can't remember any election that had ever been fought and won over technology. Sometimes it's health, sometimes it's the economy, sometimes it's boat people.
"It was quite interesting that even when it came down to the Independents, in terms of their final decision-making process there was a lot of focus on the NBN and connectivity.
"Almost every business I spoke to in this area said [the NBN] would increase employment. [Today], businesses with regional offices can't put many more [offices or people] in because they don't have the connection.
"One company with 20 staff spread across Dubbo said they would increase staff numbers overnight once they're connected. Another company said they have admin staff in Sydney because they need fast access to servers; they would shut down Sydney and move it to regional.
"I see problems with Sydney's infrastructure. I see data centres in Sydney that have generators that run full time because there isn't enough power, and water is a problem.
"Our infrastructure in Dubbo, including sewage system, is ready for a population of 55,000-60,000 from the current 40,000. We can grow overnight. I would imagine that Tamworth and Wagga or Armidale could all handle some significant growth. They have all the infrastructure but internet connectivity.
"One of the things that I thought the Coalition was treated unfairly on was utilising wireless technology. If we put the same research and development into wireless technology as there was for copper then the same would happen to wireless as it has to copper.
Paul Chiari, owner, FNQ, Atherton-North Queensland (Independent Bob Katter's seat of Kennedy)
"It's good news to some degree, although, [I don't have a lot of] trust [in] government; you have to wait and see. In reality the government could do the backhaul but leave the rest for [private sector] and competition.
"We are already doing more hosting remote backup services. Obviously better broadband would facilitate that. There are also more cloud opportunities with reliable broadband.
"We're disadvantaged on a social level [due to our distance] and communications can bridge that gap.
"Also, we can't find skills. The NBN would attract more talent, it will have a big flow on effect.
"We have to talk about iPv6, iPv4 (which are running low) - why wouldn't you have that as part of the [current NBN] discussion."
Meg Bartlett, McDonagh Computer Services, Tamworth (Tony Windsor seat of New England)
"We're very grateful for what Tony Windsor has done, everybody is entitled to the NBN."
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Issue: 316 | July 2013
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