NBN to be available in Glen Innes by September

WORKING HARD: technicians from NBN were hard at work in Glen Innes' Grey Street on Sunday. They're scheduled to have finished by September.
WORKING HARD: technicians from NBN were hard at work in Glen Innes' Grey Street on Sunday. They're scheduled to have finished by September.

The NBN is coming to Glen Innes in September, making it the last town in New England to get modern super fast internet.

Construction works on the national broadband network were underway through town over the weekend, with Glen Innes households and businesses scheduled to be linked up from September, just three months away.

Some 2,600 homes and businesses will be connected to the fixed-line system, according to a media release by NBN co.

Mayor Carol Sparks welcomed the improved service which she said would assist local businesses like Photo Create, which are reliant on the internet to sell product.

"We're all very happy to get the news we'll have super-fast internet by September," she said.

"It's good for business, it's good for households, it's good for schools, it's good for hospitals, it's good for people out on farms.

"It will bring us all together as a nation.

"But why has it taken so long?"

Glen Innes will be the last large town in the area to get the upgrade. Armidale, just 100 kilometres down the road, was the very first mainland city to get the NBN, with super fast internet switched on by 2013. Tenterfield was hooked up by September 2018, with Moree linked up in May.

Inverell was half done by June last year, with the balance of the town to be connected by the end of this year.

Mayor Sparks said there are over 1500 ABNs registered in the Glen Innes Severn local government area, and modern health services are more reliant on telehealth than ever.

"I'd say a lot of those work from home and rely on internet services.

"It'll be a good service to have, but it's been a long time coming."

Ryan Williams, NBN local spokesperson, said the organisation will have finished the rollout of the internet upgrade across the entire country by next year.

"In order to achieve this, we have developed a sequence for the rollout that takes into account practical, financial and engineering criteria," he said.

"Determining the sequence is a complex process of weighing up factors, including the location of construction resources, existing broadband infrastructure and proximity to NBN infrastructure."

The NBN provides broadband through fibre-optic cables, initially "to the home". With the switch to a Liberal-National government in 2013, the NBN was ordered to instead provide fibre "to the node". The latter technology is much slower because it uses the country's ageing copper network for the last few metres from an exchange on the street.

Some Australians who live outside of towns like farmers have broadband provided through a pair of satellites, called the Sky Muster satellites.

NBN spokesperson Ryan Williams warned Glen Innes residents and businesses that the switch is not automatic, and urged them to speak to their retailer in order to keep their phone service functioning.

He said residents will have an 18 month grace period to switch to a new plan. By March 2021 existing landline phone and internet services will be switched off.