A letter from Nambucca property owner, Michael Quicke, to shire councillors has served as a catalyst for discussion about the options available for the NBN services.
Mr Quicke pointed out that at present there was a strong incentive for new businesses to set up in Coffs Harbour rather than the Nambucca Shire because of better access to greater bandwidth and speeds.
“For many creative businesses … fast upload speeds are critical; intensive businesses and individuals have a strong preference for direct fibre to the premises (or at least fibre to the kerb),” Mr Quicke said.
“There is a provision on the NBN site which enables interested individuals, local governments and communities to apply for a change to the NBN network infrastructure planned or built in their area."
Last week the mayor, Rhonda Hoban, put forward a motion recommending the council receive a report discussing the costs and benefits of such an application.
She said however a brief look at the NBN policy suggested that changing fibre from the node to the kerb incurred a fee and that even lodging a request for a quote had a price tag.
Cr Anne Smyth said she thought it was necessary.
“Fibre is much safer and less hack-able … we need to look at what the cost would be to do this for our residents and if there are any funding opportunities to help,” Cr Smyth said.
Cr Susan Jenvey said the NBN locally was expensive second rate infrastructure that had created a digital divide between the shire and Coffs Harbour.
The motion was passed unanimously.
Mr Quicke told the Guardian that having first rate NBN in the shire would be a real leg-up for businesses.
“We don’t want to be in the shadow of Coffs … it seems to be short-sighted not to do something about this,” he said.
“I think the council could be more proactive – even fibre to the kerb is a much better service and only a few hundred dollars more.”