There are warnings that Glen Innes faces a “digital divide” when the National Broadband Network (NBN) arrives next year.
Different houses near each other will get different speeds of internet.
One businessman moving to Glen Innes told The Examiner that people should be lobbying the company and politicians to make sure the town – or parts of it – don’t get an inferior service.
Another said it was a “mess”.
The key divide is between “fibre to the premises” and “fibre to the node” – whether the ultra-fast fibre-optic cable comes to your door or just to somewhere nearby (or not so nearby).
According to NBN which is planning the network, half the houses in Glen Innes will have fibre-optic cable to the premises and the other half will have it only to a local hub in the area, and with slow copper wires for the remainder of the journey to the property.
A cursory look at the NBN website reveals, for example, that some properties within a short distance of each other on Grey Street, Taylor Street, Ferguson Street and Meade Street will get three different types of connection, each offering different speeds.
“It's a big problem, especially for businesses”, said David Lewis whose local business, “Now You See It” provides web design and digital marketing services.
“Businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on the internet to sell products, offer services and attract customers,” he said.
“If the technology needed to do that isn't up to scratch, many businesses [who employ people in town and contribute to the local economy] are going to suffer.”
It is six months before work starts but Wayne Wells, a businessman who is moving to Glen Innes, says that now is the time to lobby to make sure Glen Innes gets the best service. He thinks there’s still time for change.
“We would hope that our local member talks to the community about what connection all of the community should be getting.”
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