CONSTRUCTION for the National Broadband Network (NBN) officially began at Dubbo on Wednesday amid claims from Dubbo mayor Mathew Dickerson Dubbo faced a “digital divide”.
Cr Dickerson expressed his serious concerns residents in certain areas of Dubbo would be disadvantaged as they would be serviced by an inferior fibre-to-the-node rollout as opposed to the faster fibre-to-the-premises technology.
“I think it will provide a digital divide in Dubbo,” Cr Dickerson said.
“Fibre-to-the-premises has download speeds of 100 Mbps (megabits per second) whereas fibre-to-the-node has download speeds of 25 Mbps. This will be unfair for residents through no fault of their own.
“Unfortunately I think this fact is slightly overshadowing the good news story of today (Wednesday).”
NBN Co spokesman Darren Rudd dismissed Cr Dickerson’s fears, moving to assure residents the internet speeds would be the same regardless of what technology is used.
“No they won’t be slower (fibre-to-the-node),” Mr Rudd said.
“Each of the platforms we are using offer the same speeds whether it be fibre-to-the-premises, fibre-to-the-node or fibre-to-the-basement.
“By 2020 we will have eight million homes connected which is fantastic.”
While concerned with the technology that would be used in parts of Dubbo, Cr Dickerson was ecstatic construction work had begun.
“This is a very exciting day for Dubbo,” Cr Dickerson said.
“It has been a long road making sure Dubbo hasn’t been forgotten - and we haven’t, which is fantastic for businesses and residents.”
In good news for Dubbo residents, Mr Rudd confirmed some residents and businesses should be connected to the NBN within 12 months.
“With work starting today it should be about 12 months,” Mr Rudd said. “There are other factors such as weather and other constraints that can impact on time but all things going to plan it should be within 12 months.
“The teams that are working here won’t be moving out until the work is complete.”
The first areas to begin are the CBD and west Dubbo. Cr Dickerson urged residents to keep pressure on the government.