Fast track to the net

HIGH-SPEED broadband will come to the south-west community next month, with the first take-up of a new fibre-optic cable between Geelong and Warrnambool beside the railway route.

As uncertainty still hangs over the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout, the south-west railway cable installed months ago for improved signalling is proving a more immediate alternative.

A spokesman for VicTrack, which is the state government’s licensed telecommunications carrier with extensive fibre-optic cables along its major rail corridors, told The Standard the first customer would be South West TAFE’s headquarters in Warrnambool.

Commercial telcos have also expressed interest in tapping into the $10 million government-funded network for domestic and business customers.

“Equipment to allow the South West TAFE to connect to the new network is in the final commissioning and testing phase,” the spokesman said.

“This is expected to be completed by early December.

“VicTrack is holding discussions with other government service providers in the region, including local councils, to encourage maximum take-up of the new network.

“We would welcome any interest from any government entity.”

According to VicTrack, it is negotiating with several commercial companies after a “strong” response to a call for collaboration.

“We are working to get other government players to hook into it as well, plus private providers,” the spokesman said.

“The new fibre will provide economic development opportunities in the region, as well as delivering significant government benefits by encouraging alternative suppliers and service innovation and competition.”

Deakin University is also in the throes of utilising the high-speed cable through its provider VERNet. The TAFE connection will be used for interactive communications with students and tutors in other regions through video conferencing at higher speeds than now used.

It will also streamline business processes.

Meanwhile, the Abbott government is yet to announce when it will implement its alternative to Labor’s NBN rollout.

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