Kentucky will be one of just six locations across the region, and 46 across country NSW, to get new fixed wireless broadband NBN towers.
Following the Federal Government’s announcement of trialing Sky Muster access being unlimited and faster, and moving people off the NBN satellite service to try and reduce congestion, the State Government’s has entered into a new landmark $50 million agreement with NBN Co last week to construct 46 new fixed wireless towers, including six in the Northern Tablelands.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said the agreement would lead to improved internet services through the construction of new fixed wireless broadband towers in Kentucky, Deepwater, Emmaville, Mungindi and areas surrounding Walcha and Moree.
“Faster, more reliable internet means a boost to education and job opportunities which will open more healthcare options and connect more people, making everyday tasks much easier,” Mr Marshall said.
“I thrilled that six of the 46 sites chosen are in the Northern Tablelands, which demonstrates how lacking some of our areas are for fast and reliable internet services.”
“Most customers in the six locations currently have to access their internet services via [Sky Muster] satellite, which is notoriously slow and unreliable.”
“Even though telecommunications is the sole responsibility of the Federal Government, I’m pleased NSW has shown some leadership here, stepping up to the mark to address this key area of inequity and help bridge the vast digital divide.”
Mr Marshall said this was one of the largest ever digital infrastructure investments by the State Government.
“Whether you’re running a household or a business, you need fast, reliable internet and residents will have a choice of service providers at comparative prices and speeds as the city,” he said.
“This is good news all round and now I’ll be pushing for even more small communities and rural locations to get these towers.”
Fixed wireless is generally faster and more reliable than Sky Muster. However, residents may already be able to get faster and more stable internet access through 4G mobile phone towers.
Andrew Bomm is the CEO of Network Hoist, a consultancy that works with people in rural and remote areas to find the best internet access that works for them in their location. He says they’re technology agnostic, but for many of their clients the NBN doesn’t cut it.
“We can often get a better result from 4G and an industrial grade router,” he said.
“If you really need to be connected all the time then you’d go a Starlink dish with a directional antenna pointed at the nearest tower.”
Mr Bomm said that getting a stable connection is more important than getting a fast connection for most people, as it’s instability that causes drop outs.
NBN Co will commence detailed planning and will provide the communities getting new fixed wireless towers with more details about the rollout in the coming months. The network of new and co-located NBN fixed wireless towers will be rolled out incrementally and will be completed by the end of 2025.
For more information on the Regional Digital Connectivity program, visit www.nsw.gov.au/connectregionalnsw.