Grahame Lynch, publisher of Communications Day, writes:

The Council of South East Queensland Mayors—representing 18 local
governments—says it has applied for up to $300m funding to facilitate
the development of a ultra-high-speed broadband network covering nearly
three million people.

Badged ConnectSEQ, the initiative aims to provide broadband speeds
of up to 50Mbps to the 2.8m people living in Beaudesert, Boonah,
Brisbane, Caboolture, Caloundra, Esk, Gatton, Gold Coast, Ipswich,
Kilcoy, Laidley, Logan, Maroochy, Noosa, Pine Rivers, Redcliffe,
Redland and Toowoomba.

Council of Mayors chairman Campbell Newman—also the Mayor of
Brisbane—said: “Estimates show that effective broadband technology
could boost the state’s economy by $5 billion over fifteen years,
creating over 15,000 jobs in this time. $850 million invested in optic
fibre would contribute $5 billion in gross state product to SEQ over 15

The Council of Mayors (SEQ) has contracted Mach Technology to project
manage the ConnectSEQ initiative, with an expression of interest for
Connect Australia being lodged yesterday. Mach Technology has
experience in regional broadband rollouts. Mach Technology’s Managing
Director, Paul Pettigrew, has been appointed to the Board of Directors
of Widelinx, a Hervey Bay City Council initiative introducing a new
optic network for the Fraser Coast.

It was also appointed the Sunshine Coast Broadband Community Demand
Aggregation Broker last year. The firm operates the Mtel voice and
internet operation, based in Noosaville. A delegation of Mayors, led by
Deputy Chairman, Cr John Brent, met with Senator Helen Coonan, Minister
for Communications, Information, Technology and the Arts in April to
outline key features of ConnectSEQ.

The Council is seeking over 27% of the Connect Australia funds even
though it represents just 14% of the population—a goal it justifies on
the basis that it is the fastest growing region in Australia with
another 1m residents expected in the next 20 years.

The 18 councils agreed last December to collaborate on the venture,
building on a state government plan to build a fibre network in
Brisbane—named Project Vista.

Peter Fray

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Editor-in-chief of Crikey