April 28, 2021

QCN Fibre Success with Regional Connectivity Program – Bringing Fast Internet to Bluff, Duaringa & Dingo in the Central Highlands

QCN Fibre announced today that it has been awarded Australian Government funding under the Regional Connectivity Program for solutions in Bluff, Duaringa, and Dingo in the Central Highlands of Queensland. The funding allows QCN Fibre, in partnership with Retail Service Provider MarchNet, to deliver a fixed wireless solution with fibre backhaul to provide coverage and minimum 100Mbps broadband, and up to 1Gbps, to businesses and residents of these townships.

“This will effectively provide a 10 to 100 -fold increase in digital speeds for the hundreds of residents, schools, businesses and government services in these towns,” says QCN Fibre’s Chief Executive Officer, Derek Merdith. “It is great news for these communities and reaffirms QCN Fibre’s commitment to bridge the digital divide that is prevalent in too many remote parts of Queensland.”

The significant uplift in digital connectivity will reap economic and social benefits for the townships of Bluff, Duaringa, and Dingo. It will increase operational efficiencies for businesses, open a world of educational resources previously unattainable for schools, support fast and reliable access to healthcare and government services for residents, better serve tourists who visit the area and provide access to online entertainment and social activities for the towns’ residents.The Australian Federal Government has awarded $3.754M in funding to QCN Fibre under the Regional Connectivity Program.

Peter Dowling from the Central Highlands Development Corporation (CHDC) said “The lack of consistent connectivity and telecommunications infrastructure are clear barriers to development in our region. Whether it be a classroom of children trying to learn via the Internet, telehealth options or business operators hamstrung in their commerce – our region requires more investment in practical solutions. The Central Highlands Economic Master Plan (CHEMP), Central Highlands Digital and Communications Audit 2017, and recent Economic Recovery and Transition Project all define the need for improvements in connectivity and telecommunications infrastructure. We’re pleased that through the partnership with QCN Fibre, driven by extensive grassroots data provided via the Economic Recovery and Transition Project, we’ve collectively been successful with the announcement of funding for the communities of Duaringa, Dingo and Bluff. We look forward to working with QCN Fibre to identify additional opportunities across the region.”

Currently the towns of Duaringa, Dingo and Bluff in the Central Highlands local government area are serviced by existing ADSL services and NBN Sky Muster satellite. With the imminent shutdown to existing ADSL services, without the QCN Fibre delivery, these areas would solely rely on the NBN Sky Muster satellite services.

“I would like to thank the CHDC and Central Highlands Regional Council teams for their support in putting together a successful grant submission for Bluff, Duaringa and Dingo,” says QCN Fibre Engagement Director, Andrew Walpole. “We look forward to making a difference to these communities.”

The solution will leverage QCN Fibre’s telecommunications assets between the Duaringa and Bluff electricity substations to provide a fibre interconnection point for fibre backhaul. Retail Service Provider and partner, MarchNet, will leverage their expertise in deploying wireless solutions for remote areas to deliver the fixed wireless infrastructure at each town and provide retail fixed wireless broadband services to businesses and residents.

Schools are a major beneficiary of this program.  All schools in Duaringa, Dingo and Bluff report that while they have enough computers for one per student, the current slow Internet speeds mean that they can only have three or four students online at any given time. Online programs either take prohibitively long times to download, or do not download at all. Without the increased Internet speeds, the long-term impact on these students would be significant.

Other customers who will benefit from this program include small to medium businesses such as service stations, hotels, motels, and supermarkets. Government services including Police, Councils, Post Offices and Health Services will increase productivity and efficacy with increased digital capacity.

QCN Fibre is committed to deliver solutions of improved telecommunications coverage, capacity and competition to Queensland and today’s announcement is one further significant step in the right direction. By improving digital connectivity in the regions, QCN Fibre is supporting investment, jobs and growth for Queensland.