NBN promises city network speeds to regions by 2020

NBNCo will announce an upgrade to its fixed-wireless network Monday - which provides wireless internet outside major centres.

NBNCo promises this will bridge the "digital divide" and bring city speeds to rural areas.

Communities near Mackay, Bundaberg, Gympie, Warwick, Rockhmampton, Pomona, Childers, the Burdekin, Toowoomba, and  large areas of the South Burnett in Queensland and Coffs Harbour in NSW are among the areas to get the service roll-out.

The network upgrade promises to allow country residents to download a 10-minute YouTube video in 12 seconds.

NBNCo fixed-wireless products executive general manager Gavin Williams said rural communities had been calling out for better network speeds for years.

"By the time we complete the NBN network rollout in 2020, this world-leading broadband service will provide more than half a million homes and businesses in regional and rural Australia with access to faster internet speeds that rival what their city cousins have available today," he said.

"Following the launch of Sky Muster, NBN's first satellite, this milestone is yet another critical part of our plan to help bridge the nation's digital divide.

"We're closer than ever before to being on a level playing field between the city and the bush by providing kids in rural areas with access to digital textbooks, farmers with the latest technology and creating new possibilities for regional small businesses."

Australian Information Industry Association chief Suzanne Campbell said better and more reliable internet connections were needed in the regions.

"Access to fast broadband provides the platform for a host of services that are positively changing the way that regional Australians do business," she said.

"Fast download speeds can allow use of online banking, communication with suppliers, customers and staff through video conferencing."

She said this would enable business owners to work more efficiently.


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