State Govt to deliver cheaper, faster internet in Goondiwindi

Goondiwindi locals and businesses will soon benefit from some of the cheapest and fastest internet in Australia thanks to the Palaszczuk Government.

Innovation Minister Kate Jones said the Palaszczuk Government had established QCN Fibre to unlock thousands of kilometres of optical fibre cables to deliver better internet in regional Queensland.

The Minister today revealed QCN Fibre had done a deal with Queensland-based Channel Wireless and Goondiwindi internet service provider Country Broadband Network (CBN) to provide the service to Goondiwindi locals.

“The NBN has been a disappointment for thousands of businesses in regional towns like Goondiwindi,” Ms Jones said.

“Because we’ve kept our assets, we’re able to use thousands of kilometres of spare optical fibre to provide better internet for locals.

“As a result, businesses and residents in Goondiwindi will soon benefit from some of the fastest, cheapest internet in the country.”

Ms Jones said supporting small businesses was crucial to the Palaszczuk Government’s Unite and Recover plan.

“We are the only side of politics that has a clear strategy to create jobs, rebuild our economy and lead Queensland out of the coronavirus pandemic,” Ms Jones said.

“We understand that right across the state small businesses are struggling. We also know that reliable, fast internet is crucial to running a company in regional Queensland.

“This deal is an absolute gamechanger when it comes to supporting Goondiwindi businesses to grow and creating jobs for locals in the long term.”

Faster internet service at Goondiwindi in southern Queensland will aid agtech company InFarm to use artificial intelligence to locate the viciously thorny Hudson pear cactus and other weeds on vast properties.

Innovation Minister Kate Jones said the company depended on reliable, cheap and fast internet to ensure business success.

“This award-winning company uses aerial footage from drones and artificial intelligence to help landholders target spot-spraying of weeds, saving money and the environment by reducing herbicide use by up to 95 percent,” Ms Jones said.

QCN Fibre is a telecommunications company jointly owned by Powerlink Queensland and Energy Queensland, formed to help regional business development by using Queensland Government spare cabling and selling ‘backhaul’ capacity to providers on a wholesale basis.

The backhaul cabling – high-capacity lines that transmit between sites or to a central point – is being made available to carry internet and data services at capacities up to 100 gigabytes per second, for businesses and residences.

QCN Fibre CEO Derek Merdith said QCN Fibre would partner with local internet service providers, as well as the major carriers, in regional Queensland to improve coverage, capacity and cost.

“In areas currently underserviced by existing telecommunications players, the partnership will build the ‘last mile’ connections to serve the residential and business markets,” Mr Merdith said.

In Goondiwindi QCN Fibre has partnered with Channel Wireless and local internet service provider CBN to speed up the town’s internet and data services.

Channel Wireless is providing the ‘last-mile connection’ and CEO Dan Thompson said the company’s wireless technology could deliver reliable services more than 10 times that of a typical NBN service, up to 500 megabytes.

“Until now, we had been constrained by the available capacity and high cost, to get our data back to Brisbane and to the internet – which meant having to reduce speeds available to customers,” Mr Thompson said.

“Working with QCN Fibre means we can open up the pipes.”

CBN Director Trent Murray welcomed the ability to upgrade internet speeds for customers, at no additional cost.

“Working with QCN Fibre and Channel Wireless means we can live and work in our beautiful region and no longer suffer the ‘digital divide’,” Mr Murray said.

He said CBN and InFarm were working together, looking to connect InFarm’s supercomputer at a mini data centre in Goondiwindi – a promising sign for the future of high-tech enterprise in the outback town.

InFarm CEO Jerome Leray said he was excited by the possibilities that the faster, cheaper connection offered. The improvement was yet another boost for his company, which has won innovation awards and used a Queensland Government Ignite Ideas grant in 2017 to scale up its weed-identification platform.

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