Wheatbelt Builds its own optic network in WA and ignores NBN

June 18, 2018

Come on, NBN, take a hint already.

After three years an ambitious project is set to rise as Wheatbelt in Western Australia, with support from CBH Group and rail network operator Arc Infrastructure. Said to be enterprise-grade, affordable broadband services, The West Australian reported this project is set to rival the National Broadband Network within three years.

Called WA SuperNet, the plan is reported to run 4000km of optic fibre, which will be buried underneath the easements — the “right given to another person or entity to trespass upon or use land owned by somebody else,” according to The Balance — of the railroad running from Northampton to Esperance. Then, there will be forty-metre towers constructed at about 100 CBH receival bins.

In situations wherein there is no radio available, radio deployment can be used on the towers and CBH sites as well. WA SuperNet will be working as a wholesale provider while Telstra or other Internet Service Providers (ISP) is the area can provide retail service for the public.

Regarding the current updates, The West Australian reported former Chamber of Minerals and Energy chief executive Tim Shanahan, the current chair of WA SuperNet, has already finalised a pre-feasibility study. Meanwhile, a feasibility study and the business case — which is estimated to cost “tens of millions of dollars” — is underway and will be spearheaded by Mr Shanahan over the three months.

It is reported that work for the project will start early 2019 and staged construction to be finished two years later. However, the time frame and progress will still depend on the funding support and approvals, including an approval from the State government to use the rail network. Moreover, WA SuperNet is also discussing with telcos regarding investment or support options, which may include debt.

“We are working through the funding options at the moment,” Mr Shanahan said, The West Australian quoted. “CBH and Arc Infrastructure clearly have an interest and we are hopeful the State and Federal governments would consider providing support.”