Tasmania should buy the NBN: Launtel chief

FUTURE: Launtel chief executive Damian Ivereigh thinks the state government should purchase the Tasmanian NBN. Picture: Scott Gelston
FUTURE: Launtel chief executive Damian Ivereigh thinks the state government should purchase the Tasmanian NBN. Picture: Scott Gelston

Launtel chief executive Damian Ivereigh is calling on the state to purchase the National Broadband Network and upgrade the island’s poor infrastructure. 

Mr Ivereigh, who has pioneered gigabit internet in Launceston and soon Hobart, revealed his ambitious plan to roll out fibre cable across the majority of the state.

“Tasmanian people should go to the federal government offer to buy NBN here in Tasmania,” he declared. 

He said by purchasing the Tasmanian infrastructure owned by NBN Co, upgrades could be done on the “worst of all technologies”, fibre-to-the-node.

Under the existing NBN, Launceston and parts of Hobart benefit from high-speed, fibre-to-the-premises internet.

Greater Hobart, Burnie, Devonport and most of Tasmania’s regional areas have a slower, fibre-to-the-node system.

A federal government inquiry in July heard this situation could widen the digital divide between cities and regions.

“The whole idea is to really bring Tasmania into the new economy,” he said.

“It’s appalling Burnie and Devonport have been left off the map.” 

Under Mr Ivereigh’s plan, the state would buy the NBN in Tasmania and move to install faster fibre in regional areas.

“We have a lot of fibre already, we are well ahead of the rest of the country. 

“We are pretty much finished – on the mainland they’re about halfway through.

“The mainland NBN Co are frankly not interested in talking about further upgrades here in Tasmania.”

In early modelling, he predicts it would cost $500 million to buy the NBN in Tasmania, and a further $200 million to upgrade fibre-to-the-premises across the state to fibre-to-the-premises.

The Launtel chief said it was essential the government or opposition was supportive of the proposal.

He said the network could be offered for superannuation funds to invest in “what is a very stable income stream”.