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NBN rejects plea for faster Adelaide CBD rollout

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The NBN is being rolled out too slowly in Adelaide’s CBD, the city council has warned – but the corporation says it cannot be done any faster.

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In a submission to federal parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network, Adelaide City Council chief advisor Steve Harrison and associate director of information management Peter Auhl write that city businesses cannot afford to wait much longer for the high-speed internet connections offered by the NBN.

“From our city perspective it is our observation that the NBN is generally a very welcomed infrastructure, however … the physical roll out is taking considerably longer than users want to or can afford to wait – especially for our business community,” the submission reads.

“There is also concern that once a user has access to the NBN, the telco’s actual delivery of broadband services [is] not to the speeds guaranteed.

“This is often due to contention: too many internet users using the network at the same time … preventing businesses from fully leveraging cloud based services and as such, reducing their productivity.”

The document continues: “The roll out of the NBN, combined with the City of Adelaide’s complementary ‘non-internet’ Ten Gigabit City optical fibre network will position Adelaide with a unique and very powerful economic, globally competitive advantage.”

“Council’s principal concerns in terms of the physical roll out of the network in the city [are that] the scheduled time to completion is considerable and the diversity of infrastructure is complex.”

NBN Co expects to finish installing the mostly fibre-to-the-curb internet network infrastructure across the CBD by 2019, or thereabouts.

Corporate affairs manager for SA and the NT Jill Bottrall told InDaily that everyone wants the NBN “yesterday” and Adelaide’s rollout can only happen so quickly.

“We can only go as fast as we can go,” she said.

“We can’t speed up just because [of] a submission to the joint standing committee.”

She added that: “They want it yesterday, as everyone does.”

“We’re rolling out to 12 million premises … we can’t do it all at once.

“It’s a highly complex piece of infrastructure.”

Bottrall said the NBN had begun to install cabling in the South East corner of the city, and “it’ll be available in certain parts of the city by the end of the year”.

“The contractors are out there as we speak.”

Three major data infrastructure networks are being developed for Adelaide’s CBD.

The NBN will connect residents and businesses to the world wide web at higher speeds than currently available.

At the same time, the Adelaide City Council is preparing to install a Ten Gigabit City network, which will allow businesses to transfer huge quantities of data among themselves and into the cloud, but will not be connected to the world wide web.

The closed network has the advantage of avoiding “contention” – too many people using the same network at the same time, slowing down speeds – and better security against hacking.

The State Government announced an extra $2.9 million towards Gig City – an open network boasting “extremely fast broadband speeds of one gigabit per second at an affordable cost” – in last week’s budget.

Auhl told InDaily the council had an excellent relationship with the NBN Co – and meets with its representatives once every six weeks to discuss progress on the rollout.

However, he said: “People are aching for faster internet connections in the city – residents as well … residents more than anyone.”

And city businesses are “really requiring high speed internet to maintain their productivity”.

He said that the council’s Ten Gigabit City project was complimentary to the NBN rollout.

Bottrall added that NBN Co expected to be able to connect the entire country to high-speed broadband by 2020, including all of South Australia by 2019.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Gig City was a closed network. A government spokesperson clarified this afternoon that it is an open network connected to the world wide web.

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