Moe’s severed connection

MOE will miss out on the first stage rollout of high speed broadband despite Latrobe City Council’s opposition.

Councillors voted on Monday to write to Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to object to Moe’s exclusion from the first stage rollout of the National Broadband Network.

Traralgon, Morwell and Churchill will be among the first towns in Gippsland with internet connection speed options of up to 100 megabytes per second, as part of the Federal Government’s NBN plan.

However, NBN Co stated council could not influence the period in which Moe and Newborough would be connected.

Latrobe City Mayor Ed Vermeulen said council was interested in pursuing the issue to ensure Moe was treated “equally” to other Latrobe City towns.

“There is fibre optic cable (required for the NBN) running from Melbourne to Gippsland along the train line already being used by schools and the (Latrobe Regional) Hospital,” Cr Vermeulen said.

“It doesn’t seem to me to be a huge step to include it for domestic use as well.

“If the will is there, I’m sure Moe could be included.”

Cr Vermeulen said he was cautious of “subtle hidden costs” associated with installation for Moe residents at a later date.

However, NBN Co communications manager Rhonda Griffin rejected the financial concerns and assured consistent installation of the NBN in all regions.

“Moe itself will definitely be getting fibre (optic connection); it is just not in this first year rollout plan,” Ms Griffin said.

“What we will be doing every 12 months is adding to that three-year rollout plan, so this time next year we will announce another rollout plan for the next 12 months and continue to add more locations.”

She said the suggestion to use the already laid fibre optic cable “was not a determining factor” of the rollout sequence.

“The rollout sequence was determined based on a number of policy and engineering design principles,” Ms Griffin said.

“We are starting from these points and then we are building out in a series of modules, and we will keep building on these modules until we have finished the fibre footprint in an area.

“Once we start in an area, we will keep going until we do all the fibre in that area.”