CopperString is not just about an electricity transmission line, it has broadband potential to bridge digital divide in North West Queensland, its proponents say.
The potential of the CopperString 2.0 electricity transmission network, which recently obtained transmission authority, can enable high-speed broadband services to north and north-west Queensland which will be discussed at the CopperString Regional Reference Group meeting in Townsville this week (September 23).
CuString Pty Ltd Managing Director Joseph O'Brien said CopperString 2.0, the proposed extra high-voltage 1,000km transmission network stretching across the State from Townsville to Mount Isa would include large-capacity optical fibre cables that can be utilised by government and Internet Service Providers to improve access to essential communication services for regional and remote communities.
"CopperString 2.0 could dramatically boost broadband services across the north as the project reaffirmed its commitment to provide access to their high-capacity fibre optic cable on a not-for-profit basis," Mr O'Brien said.
Mr O'Brien said one of the benefits CopperString can bring to regional Queensland is to progress this fibre opportunity to position North and North West Queensland communities to have access to similar connectivity options as those in the South East.
"There is so much economic and social potential in north and north-west Queensland and we want to help unlock this potential by making our large-capacity optic fibre bandwidth available on not-for-profit basis." he said.
"As part of our power infrastructure we will install a new optic fibre system that will boost the data carrying capacity in the region. A lack of affordable and reliable broadband, like high electricity costs, is like a handbrake on economic development and service delivery.
Cloncurry Mayor Greg Campbell said faster broadband would transform the region and "unlock billions of dollars worth of economic potential".
"With improved power and connectivity, we could support the development of new mining opportunities in the North West Minerals Province, develop advanced industries, deliver high quality jobs as well as take advantage of the transition to remote and flexible working," Cr Campbell said.
Mr O'Brien said CopperString's optic fibre network would also enable the delivery of digital health and education and open up new opportunities for a range of industries including strategic defence, data hubs, connected agriculture and advanced minerals manufacturing.
"This will set the region up for the future," he said.
The Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2020 ranked North West Queensland last across the State for Access and Digital Ability, and third last for Affordability, closely followed by Townsville, highlighting the lack of access to digital communications infrastructure and an emerging divide that puts social and economic opportunities at a disadvantage.
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