The government’s NBN project has struggled to avoid headlines this year.
Putting the national news aside, at what stage is the installation of the project sitting in the Bega Valley?
NBN spokesperson Marcela Balart said the publicly owned company expects all “locals will be able to connect from early 2018”.
Before the 2013 election the Liberal Party promised all Bega Valley premises would have access to download speeds of 25megabits per second (mbps) to 100mbps by the end of this year.
”Construction to connect an additional 12,000 premises in parts of Bega, Tathra, Bermagui, Eden, Merimbula, Pambula and Tura Beach through NBN’s fixed line service is due to commence early next year,” Ms Balart said.
Ms Balart said it is impossible for the company to know exactly how many residents are currently on an NBN contract through a service provider.
“As the wholesaler, we don’t have the specific figures for take-up as this is held by the internet and phone companies as the sign-ups are their customers,” she said.
“When it comes to take-up, what we’re hearing is NBN services are providing a significant difference to people’s broadband experiences, with some accessing speeds of up to 50Mbps download and 20Mbps upload on the fixed wireless service.”
A quick look at the NBN website map of current fixed wireless connection shows the region’s landscape is an issue.
An example is Wallagoot Lake, where connectivity is available over the water yet not to surrounding homes.
Ms Balart explained radio signals travel in a linear path until it is obstructed by topography.
‘The land area with premises surrounding the lake are largely covered by the satellite technology,” she said.
Despite the delays, former member for Eden-Monaro Peter Hendy said the expected cost of the much needed infrastructure project in the region was “between $90-100million”.
According to delivery network provider Akamai, Australia’s average internet speed of 8.8mbps ranks it 8th in the Asia Pacific, with South Korea almost three times faster at 29mbps.
In the Asia Pacific region Australia also sits below Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and New Zealand.