By ALANA MITCHELSON
MARKFI Gates is one of the many local businesses that has welcomed the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout as its new technology was switched on in Pakenham and parts of Officer on Friday 3 June.
Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield was joined by the federal members for McMillan and La Trobe – Russell Broadbent and Jason Wood – to announce the launch of NBN’s first fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) services in Victoria.
“Pakenham and Officer are among the first areas in Victoria to be able to connect to the new NBN technology,” Mr Fifield said.
“From Friday there will be 20,000 households accessing NBN and by September, an additional 37,000 will be switched on including Drouin and Warragul.”
Mr Fifield said that construction works would begin in Narre Warren, Berwick and Ferntree Gully later this year and that those areas could expect to connect by early 2017.
Markfi Gates owner Constance Goh said that the NBN would provide “faster communication”.
Her business manufactures farm gates, safety mesh gates and related products such as bulk hay feeders.
While the majority of her clients are from the Gippsland region, others are based near the borders of New South Wales and South Australia.
“These days we are using more media when communicating with our clients,” she said.
“They often take photos of what they want and then we custom-build the product in our factory. We’ve found that sometimes photo or video files are quite large and they take a long time to load. I’m told the NBN will make this process more efficient.
“We’re also hoping to expand our website and online presence. With the NBN, we’ll be able to do more with our website like video tutorials on how to use our products.”
FTTN would be “faster” and “less costly” as compared to the previous fibre to the premises (FTTP) technology used for NBN, Minister Fifield said.
“FTTN is about half the cost of FTTP. We’re exceeding our financial targets from a revenue and cost perspective,” he said.
“It’s also up to 100MB/sec faster and less obstructive in that we won’t have to disrupt households with street works.
“Our focus has been to ensure the rollout occurs as quickly as possible to maximise the economic benefits to businesses.”
Federal Member for McMillan Russell Broadbent urged the region to take advantage of the new technology and to contact their preferred service provider to discuss options or place an order for an NBN service.
“Access to fast broadband at affordable prices can be revolutionary for small businesses, farms and households with students,” Mr Broadbent said.
The FTTN network uses existing copper lines connected to properties.
The NBN network is now available to more than 470,000 households and businesses in Victoria, with 226,000 paying customers.