FibreCo Qld given AU$8.6m to establish state-owned fibre backhaul
The Queensland government has handed AU$8.6 million to its state-owned fibre backhaul provider, FibreCo Qld, in its 2019-20 Budget.
FibreCo Qld will be responsible for connecting parts of the state-owned fibre network with the National Broadband Network (NBN) across regional areas.
The network will make use of the extra capacity on 6,000km of existing fibre-optic cabling and the government expects it will connect over 600,000 premises.
Announced in December, the network will be available along the east coast of Queensland in areas such as Cairns, Townsville, Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, and Mackay.
The new state-owned entity jointly owned by Powerlink Queensland and Energy Queensland will have the AU$8.6 million to establish itself over a two-year period.
“Delivering on our election commitments, the government is providing additional funding of AU$8.6 million over two years to make high speed and low cost internet available to regional Queensland,” the Budget papers [PDF] say.
“FibreCo Qld will use existing government infrastructure by unlocking spare capacity in government-owned fibre networks to improve regional Queenslanders’ ability to access digital capability.”
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FibreCo Qld will utilise spare capacity on the government-owned optical fibre network to sell backhaul services to telecommunications companies.
The state believes opening the government-owned fibre network will encourage competition, with government expecting the network to deliver better quality internet for regional Queenslanders.
“There are a range of anticipated benefits from using the spare capacity on the fibre network to improve competition,” the government said.
For Queenslanders, FibreCo is intended to help deliver faster, more reliable internet for homes and businesses, as well as a larger range of internet service packages for homes and businesses. While for RSPs and ISPs, it is expected to provide access to more competitive wholesale pricing and increased bandwidth allocation for customers.
“By using the government’s fibre optic network, we can provide significantly greater capacity than what’s currently available in regional Queensland,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said previously.
“Currently, Telstra and Optus dominate the wholesale market in regional Queensland, and this makes it harder for new players to get on the scene.”
The Queensland government had in April last year revealed that it was undertaking due diligence to assess whether it could provide capacity on its own fibre-optic network ahead of the limited fibre provision of the federal government’s NBN.