More areas in the Australian state of Victoria are expected to be able to access the highest speed tiers on the National Broadband Network (NBN) following a co-investment agreement between NBN Co and the state government. Announcing the deal, the Australian communications minister Paul Fletcher said that the Victorian government had granted AUD73 million (USD53 million) in funds to NBN Co for use on digital connectivity upgrades. The monies will be used to partner with NBN Co on upgrades to business connectivity, regional connectivity for communities served by fixed-wireless and satellite services, and the transition from fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) to fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology in some areas. In return, NBN Co has made funding available through its AUD300 million ‘Regional Co-Investment Fund’ and its AUD700 million ‘Business Fibre Zone’ programme to partner with the Victorian Government.
An initial project carried out under the agreement will see fibre extended deeper into selected communities, while creating eleven new ‘Business Fibre Zones’ in Benalla, Colac, Cranbourne East, Cranbourne South, Dromana, Hamilton, Lara, Packenham North, Packenham South, Warragul and Wonthaggi-Inverloch. In these areas, around 10,000 Victorian businesses will become eligible to acquire Enterprise Ethernet business-grade fibre connections, NBN Co’s premium-grade business offering, delivering symmetrical speeds of up to 1Gbps, at no upfront cost.
Commenting on the matter, Minister Fletcher said: ‘Network investment in digital infrastructure in Victoria will create jobs both in the medium term, during the design and construction process, and over the long-term, by stimulating new businesses and greater productivity.’