Rain and bad weather has delayed the commencement of fibre installation between Darwin and Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory as part of the Federal Government’s Regional Broadband Blackspot Programme (RBBP).
The rollout, being conducted by winning tender Nextgen Networks, was slated to begin this month, however weather had forced the company to rearrange work crews, setting back timeframes until September.
Rainfall is only likely to increase in the area, however, as Darwin ramps up for the wet season in summer.
A spokesperson for the company told Computerworld Australia that the delays were part of business as usual, and work crews had been moved to section of the fibre rollout program.
The 990 kilometre length of fibre is part of a longer, 1473 kilometre link the company is building from Darwin to Brisbane. The delay is unlikely to set back rollout of the full fibre leg, as the Tennant Creek to Toowoomba portion remains ahead of schedule.
Once completed, the fibre will provide competitive backhaul for Internet service providers in Darwin, where often Telstra is the only option.
The program will also form the basis for some of the rollout of the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network (NBN), should it go ahead following the Federal election on 21 August. Both Geraldton and the Darwin suburb of Casuarina have been slated as second release mainland trial sites for the fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network, with construction set to begin early next year.
Nextgen Networks has so far rolled out 1500 kilometres of a total 6000 kilometres of fibre as part of the Government’s $250 million program, which targets identified blackspots including Darwin, Broken Hill, Geraldton, Longreach, Victor Harbor and South West Gippsland.
The company expects its fibre rollout to be fully completed by September 2011.