Western Australian Information Technology and Telecommunications Industry Awards 2011-2012
Award Ceremony - Perth, 30 March 2012
Nextgen Networks winner of the Regional Category for the Regional Backbone Blackspots Program (RBBP) – Perth to Geraldton link
Nextgen was judged the winner of the WAiTTA (WA Information Technology & Telecommunications Awards) 2011-12 awards Regional Category for the RBBP Geraldton build.
The Regional award recognises an outstanding ICT product, project or service provided by a WA individual or organisation located in regional and country areas of the State. Nominees need to demonstrate how they use regional resources in the development and delivery of their product or service, and how effectively it meets a specific regional need.
About our submission
The Regional Backbone Blackspots Program (RBBP), announced on 7 April 2009 as part of the Australian Government’s 21st Century Broadband policy, has put in place key infrastructure for the roll-out of the National Broadband Network.
The program is designed to reduce the cost of broadband services into regional areas by bringing competing wholesale backhaul services to some of Australia’s highest priced locations for wholesale telecommunications transmission, reducing the cost of broadband services, and increasing consumer choice of providers for both fixed line (DSL) and mobile services.
One of the key components of the RBBP is a 426 kilometre Perth to Geraldton route which sees Nextgen building fibre optic cable that connects the mid-west region to high capacity national fibre optic infrastructure.
With an addressable market of 35,000 people in the Geraldton region and 55,000 people in the greater Mid-West region of Western Australia, the Perth to Geraldton RBBP link extends Nextgen’s ongoing commitment to Western Australia. It builds on its initial investment in 2001 connecting Perth to Eastern Australia with a state-of-the-art transmission network.
Nextgen’s role with this contract has been to design, construct, manage and operate the network as well as to maintain the new backbone transmission link on behalf of the Australian Government.
The construction of the Perth to Geraldton link was distinguished by the involvement of the Ngarda Alliance, Australia’s leading indigenous engineering service firm, to undertake the critical civil engineering component of the network deployment.
In addition, the project will deliver new competitive wholesale access points to allow Carriers and service providers to establish new, local and commercially viable ADSL, Mobile, Wireless Broadband and Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) networks along the route.
Access points to the fibre infrastructure will be established at the following eight sites:
- Bluff Point,
- Geraldton South,
- Port Denison,
- Boothendara, and
- Rig Road
Benefits to Regional WA
With just about every aspect of personal lifestyles, public sector services and the machinations of local, national and global economies continuing to evolve around digital technology, the tyranny of distance has often restricted regional Western Australia from engaging in this revolution at an affordable price for the consumer.
Without a competitive market-place for localised service providers, Western Australian regional centres such as Geraldton were seeing economic growth and public services potential being held back by a lack of low-cost telecommunications connectivity.
RBBP services include a range of new competitive wholesale products that enable the delivery of wireless, broadband and other communications services. These services will be provided along a 426km route following the Brand Highway between Perth and Geraldton.
The network will bring competitive backhaul services to communities along the route for the first time. Market evidence shows that where there is a lack of competitive backbone services, costs are significantly higher.
The RBBP project is designed to stimulate retail competition in services, service innovation and maximum end user choice and is directed to wholesale access seekers under a strict equivalence of access regime. RBBP services have been priced to overcome regional barriers to market entry.
Benefits for local service providers include guaranteed maximum pricing which is part of its contractual obligations with the Australian Government. Additional incentives will be made available for long term discounting, volume based discounting and traffic aggregation arrangements.
Benefits for the local communities who will be connected to affordable broadband for the first time extend to better quality education, health and other government services all of which have become increasingly reliant on technology and telecommunications to optimise service performance levels.
Faster, more affordable telecommunications with a competitive market place will be a big bonus for the planned medical training facility that specialises in training rural doctors. Pathology and medical imaging services for the local community will benefit from real time interaction with specialists from all over Australia thereby producing better patient outcomes. Diagnosis times will shorten and cost reductions will be achieved by sharing high resolution digital images over the internet.
The Geraldton Shire Council will be closer to realising its potential to become a ‘smart city’ and centre of excellence for rural health, science, research and resources. It is looking at building a technology park to encourage local businesses and to attract local branches of technology reliant companies from elsewhere in the state and country.
Fundamentally, high speed telecommunications infrastructure will allow Geraldton and other communities along the route to be connected to the digital world with first class telecommunications infrastructure. It will create economic growth as investment is attracted to the region and will eliminate telecommunications barriers deterring local businesses from engaging in the global digital economy. There will be jobs created directly from the construction of local networks and indirectly from the economic stimulus generated by broadband connectivity.
The WA Information Technology and Telecommunications Awards (WAiTTA) have been conducted annually since 1991 by the WA Branch of the Australian Computer Society Inc. The purpose of the WAiTTA is to recognise outstanding performance and contributions by members of the IT&T community in Western Australia.
WAiTTA is a Not-For-Profit organisation and is dependant on industry support.