Regional Queensland is set to benefit from a decision by the Government aimed at boosting internet connectivity throughout the state.
The Government has announced it will use 6000km of state-owned fibre optic cable to boost internet connectivity and potentially lower prices for more than 600,000 businesses and households around Queensland.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Government would set up a new entity called FibreCo Qld to partner with internet service providers.
She said FibreCo Qld would use the extra capacity on the state-owned fibre optic network to offer faster, more reliable internet to homes and businesses in regional Queensland.
Regional areas where FibreCo Qld will work to provide faster, more reliable internet include Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.
“Fast and reliable internet is vital when it comes to running a business,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“And by using the Government’s fibre optic network, we can provide significantly greater capacity than what’s currently available in regional Queensland.”
Innovation Minister Kate Jones, who will oversee the project roll-out, said internet connectivity was vital to growing the regional Queensland economy.
“We also know that by helping businesses to be more connected, we’ll create more and more jobs in regional Queensland,” she said.
Ms Jones said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had found that regional Queensland had some of the least competitive internet markets in Australia.
She said opening up the government-owned fibre network was about levelling the playing field and encouraging competition to help deliver better-quality internet for people and businesses in regional Queensland.
Former telecommunications entrepreneur Steve Baxter, who advocated strongly for the project during his time as Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur, welcomed the announcement, saying it would have a transformational effect for businesses in more remote areas of the state.
“Freeing up state-owned assets to increase the capacity in an under-utilised backhaul market will lead to great outcomes for Queensland,” he said.