CuString Pty Ltd is proposing to provide free access to the optical fibre network, built as part of the CopperString Project 2.0 between Townsville and Mount Isa.
The optical fibre network could boost mobile phone and internet services across the State's North and North-West.
CopperString 2.0 Project Founder and Director, John O'Brien, said the design of the transmission network includes the development of large-capacity optical fibre cables to facilitate the safe and reliable flow of electricity.
"This optical fibre is the same technology that provides mobile and internet services to homes and business across Queensland. It is common practice for electricity providers to sell their capacity to internet and mobile service providers who then on-sell to end users," Mr O'Brien said.
"The prospect of delivering cheaper and more reliable communication services as well as secure and reliable electricity supply to the communities and industry in North and North West Queensland is very exciting.
"When constructed, CopperString 2.0 will significantly increase the optical fibre reach across Northern Queensland and we want to use this communication infrastructure to provide benefit to the people and businesses in this region.
"Providing access to our bandwidth for free is a contribution CopperString 2.0 can make to improving access to essential communication services and digitising Northern Queensland.
"Whether its advanced agriculture, stock monitoring, remote schooling, or just better mobile and internet coverage, the opportunities that improved communication infrastructure provide are enormous, and they are more important for regional and remote communities than for cities."
"The advent of 5G technology means that use of the CopperString 2.0 fibre backbone can extend highspeed broadband to an enormous area of mainland Queensland to enable everything from Skype calls with grandchildren to advanced e-commerce."
Areas in the North and North-West have often suffered from slow internet, outages and patchy mobile coverage due to a lack of cost-effective infrastructure.
The fibre optic capacity installed as part of CopperString 2.0 could enable mobile and internet services to be extended to areas that don't have access or where service levels are below standard.
President of the Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Zone (MITEZ), Mr David Glasson, said the group recognised there would be significant benefits if CopperString 2.0's infrastructure can provide better access to communication services in regional and remote areas.
"Many places along the route of the proposed transmission line would benefit if the project could provide improved phone reception and internet speed which has been a major constraint for communities not presently connected to the NBN or with inadequate satellite reception,".
"Access to CopperString 2.0 infrastructure would likely result in greater competition and more competitive rates being offered by new providers as there has previously been only a couple of service providers operating in remote communities," Mr Glasson said.
Mr O'Brien said the decision to offer free access to the fibre optic capacity on the proposed CopperString 2.0 transmission line was a result of consultation with the communities in Northern Queensland.
"During recent community consultation process, and via the CopperString 2.0 Regional Reference Group, it became clear that access to reliable high-speed internet and mobile services is of critical importance to people and businesses in North-West Queensland so we have decided to make our fibre optic capacity available at no cost to communication providers who commit to passing on the benefit on to end-users," Mr O'Brien said.
Delivering the benefits of this fibre optic capacity to the community will require partnerships with communication service providers who can deliver the mobile and internet services to homes and businesses.
Mr O'Brien said CopperString 2.0's optical fibre plans complemented the Queensland Government's FibreCo initiative. FibreCo will use 6,000 kilometres of state-owned optical fibre along the east coast of Queensland, providing faster, more reliable internet for areas including Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.
Mr O'Brien says that if CopperString 2.0 is successful in reaching its construction milestone it will give free access to its optical fibre capacity to any communication service provider who commits to passing on the benefits of lower costs and better coverage to communities and customers.
"CopperString 2.0 is very keen to find communication partners to help deliver the benefits of improved communications and internet access to the Townsville-to-Mount Isa region," he said.
"The objective to deliver better communication services to homes and businesses in regional Queensland aligns closely with our desire to drive economic growth and improve access to essential communication services across the whole Sustainable Resources Corridor between Townsville and Mount Isa.
"Free usage of CopperString 2.0's fibre optic capacity is a way that we can directly contribute to social and economic welfare and we are keen to work with both government and privately-owned service providers to deliver the benefits to homes and businesses."
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