The Government will provide $7.35 million to the Norfolk Island Regional Council (NIRC) for major upgrades to its telecommunications network over the next two years, increasing the remote island’s satellite capacity by four times its current speed.
After a “competitive tender process”, Telstra has been selected to provide the core upgrades to Norfolk’s satellite backhaul connection and network.
The upgrades are expected to enhance the delivery of education and healthcare on the island by the Queensland Government, with the additional capability to support the Queensland Government’s operation of Norfolk Island Central School (NICS) and healthcare delivery by Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged care Services (NIHRACS).
Further, during school hours, dedicated NICS bandwidth will support online study; after school hours, the NICS bandwidth will be available for general community use.
At the same time, separate dedicated bandwidth for NIHRACS will support telehealth appointments and faster communications with mainland medical support services.
“There are a number of challenges to Norfolk Island’s telecommunications due to its remote location and current network capacity, which is why our $7.35 million investment in improved telecommunications infrastructure will make such a positive difference,” Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, Kristy McBain, said.
She added that “faster and more reliable telecommunications will support online study, telehealth services, and flexible work arrangements” as well as improve the efficiency of business and help locals and tourists keep in touch with family and friends on the island and on the mainland.
Norfolk Island Regional Council Administrator, Michael Colreavy, commented: “By providing these upgrades centrally through Norfolk Telecom, we will be increasing the speed and stability of the entire telecommunications network, allowing the community access to all the economic, lifestyle and other opportunities that higher internet speeds at home can provide.
“Following a competitive tender process, Telstra has been engaged to deliver these important upgrades of the island’s satellite backhaul connection and network, which will benefit the entire community.”