Gungahlin to Get NBN Fast Track

July 8th, 2010 by Russell Leave a reply »

What can I say? I am not sure I really know what to say other than WOW.

The NBN Co announced today that Gungahlin will be included as one of the 14 locations where the NBN will be rolled out in early to mid 2011. The announcement, which can be seen on the NBN Co site here states that Gungahlin will start to receive the upgrade as early as March next year.

This announcement is a great boon for our community. For too long we have struggled with bad service and broken promises with regard to phone and internet services in Gungahlin and it is great to finally have our issue acknowledged.

The broken promises started on the 31st of August 1995, almost 15 years ago when Telstra representatives stood in front of my local primary school in Palmerston ACT. At that time Telstra promised to invest $20 million for “…connecting each of our [school] buildings with optical fibre, using a hub and router system to connect the school then into the university’s file server … other schools but also the World Wide Web and Internet.” Reference -The Media Report

The $20 Million dollar telecommunications investment was also to trial new technologies.

“There was no pre-existing infrastructure in Gungahlin, and in terms of choosing Gungahlin we were able to try out various infrastructure opportunities.” Reference -The Media Report

Unfortunately for Gungahlin, Telstra quietly withdrew the investment and decided to only “trial” Pair Gain and RIM technology. People moved to the area with the belief they would get the best in schooling for their children and world leading communications services. It was not until later people realised they had been mislead.

The reality of the broken promise crystallised on the 15th of February 2002 when the then Chief Minister Garry Humphries was quoted by the Canberra Times as saying

“…it was almost impossible for ACTTAB to be moved to Gungahlin due to costs, particularly the installation of new communications lines/systems.” Reference – Canberra Times

Only at this point, the true impacts of poor communications infrastructure became clear. Government Office space and the associated office workers will not be setting up in Gungahlin. The under investment in phone and data services in Gungahlin had become a major disincentive to business and Government departments moving into the area.

Still to this day only one Government department has located in Gungahlin. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship temporarily located a small number of workers at Gungahlin. The Department has since vacated the site and no other large private entity or Government Departments have moved in.

As Gungahlin has the largest rate of population growth in Canberra it is hard to believe very few employment opportunities exist within the area. The local business that provide support and services like coffee shops are suffering for lack of clientele. Our local economy has suffered with many businesses closing or moving to other locations.

The NBN will bring a new infrastructure service to our area providing what has been lacking for 15 years. The NBN will enable big businesses and Government Agencies an affordable telecommunications solution to support their businesses. Residents will be able to get the benefits of usable internet access for the first time. People who run business from home will be able to service their clients effectively.

No longer will our beautiful area be shunned as a “Technology Ghetto”

In an Interview today Mike Quigley stated community dissatisfaction with services had made a difference.

“… the inclusion of Gungahlin was partly thanks to community dissatisfaction over its poor Internet coverage.

“I’d say it certainly is a factor in our consideration,” he said. “It’s clear Gungahlin has a problem – it has a bunch of RIMs serving large parts of it, they can’t provide broadband.

“So it makes good sense if you can pick an area in the ACT to pick one that’s got problems with broadband.”

Reference –

The article links to this site and proves that some of the people who make decisions are listening.

To the community within which I live, thank you for all your support, emails and feedback. It was what kept me going and fighting for a better deal. The system does work some times. It was this campaign and other work done by Alan Kerlin at the GCC and Senator Kate Lundy who helped make this happen.

Thank you Kate Lundy and Pia Waugh for finding my site, listening to my story and supporting this campaign.

Thanks to Alan Kerlin and the members of the GCC who also put in time and effort to improve services for community.

Thanks to the MLA members who took time to respond to my letters and represent our community. Special thanks to Caroline Le Couteur (Greens) who responded to my letters and posted comments on this site. Thanks also to Katy Gallagher, Deputy Chief Minister who also responded to my letters and represented the issue at the Federal level.

I am not going to call this campaign over just yet. This is just the beginning of a journey we have not yet completed. It is not a victory until the first home is connected but still, today is a great day :)

Some additional links and information

NBN Company website – NBN Co announces next rollout locations

Senator Stephen Conroy – Media Release

Kate Lundy Website – Warm Welcome for Initial NBN Rollout – Broadband Battlers Get Their Dues

ARN – update: nbn co announces 14 new mainland australia sites

Gungahlin Community Council Facebook Page

Canberra Times – Super-fast internet for Gungahlin



  1. Andrew Robinson says:

    Great news finally.

    But don’t get too excited untill like you say we finally see houses connected.

    Gungahlin was supposed to be the test bed for the most advanced system back in the 90’s, as you mentioned, So lets wait and see.

    If the Lib’s get in there will be no change.

    Fingers crossed all.

  2. Greg Wells says:

    This is excellent news and a good article Russ.

    Congratulations to you, Pia and Kate for keeping at this issue and I am sure that we are all grateful that it has now given results.

    I certainly will be watching the NBN website with interest now…

  3. Rich says:

    Congratulations on this announcement.

    I’m worried that Telstra will use this as an excuse to cease upgrading the backhaul to their Gungahlin RIMs, and you’ll be stuck with lousy connectivity until the NBN comes by in 12 (or more) months.

    Heaven help you if the Libs get into power late this year and cancel the NBN.

    Still, the chance of you being able to get back on a real ISP like Internode – and this time at through FTTH at up to 100mbit – must be pretty exciting.

    FTTH in Franklin is great – although TransACT and their ISPs’ pricing and service isn’t quite market-leading.

  4. indika says:

    thanks russel for the updatings. hope withing next few months we all be able at connect real internet. hope every one in gungahlin will be covered with NBN in one go

  5. gerry says:

    …bet Dunlop misses out…

  6. Ben Staughton says:

    Good for you. Not good 20m across Northborne in Majura Rise.

    Brand spanking new suburb, communications that would make Noah laugh.

    I guess I’m disappointed they didnt include Majura Rise

  7. fishmilkshake says:

    Let’s be conservative and say there are 36,000 people in Gungahlin. Let’s say there are an average 3.0 people to a household. The NBN will roll out to 3,000 homes in Gugahlin. So you’ve got a 25% chance of being a lucky one.

  8. Rauland says:

    @ fishmilkshake

    Still, that would ease congestion.

  9. Paul F says:

    Interesting meeting tonight at the GCC.
    Was not expecting a lot but it did help in getting a better understanding of Telstra’s lack of foresight in meeting future needs.

    Nice to finally meet you in person Russ.

  10. Ghengis of Coles Gungahlin says:

    It looks like they’re only going to cable the suburb of Gungahlin, as there are just under 3000 houses in the suburb (as well as over 1000 units) according to this website:

    Which means that us in Amaroo, Ngunnawal, Harrison, Franklin Stage 1, Nicholls and Palmerston are liberally screwed!!

  11. Wal of Harrison says:

    For those surrounding suburbs that aren’t apart of the initial Gungahlin rollout, at least there is the hope that when/if it finally does expand, logically these suburbs will be the first to expand to.

  12. Russell says:

    At the GCC meeting I spoke to TransACT representatives who will be doing the NBN rollout in Gungahlin. From what I was told, the first 3000 homes has not been finalised. I am trying be included in the “community consultation” which will happen very soon in a hope that some of the areas who have been suffering the longest are targeted first.

    I also want to try and find out if the rollout will continue after the first 3000 and when the next group is slated for. Regardless of who is first, if they keep going it will only be a matter of time. Some of us have waited 15 years, I am sure the extra few months will be worth the wait.

  13. Andrew Robinson says:

    I have lived in Gunga’s for 10 years and lived in 5 places.

    1st Amaroo — wasn’t too bad from memory.
    2nd Ngunnawal (just near cnr of Mirebei and Wanganeen) — took 2 months to sort out ADSL. in the end Telstra had to change the line back to exchange.
    3rd Ngunnawal (near Platypus shops) — was pretty good ADSL1 from get go.
    4th Gungahlin (Gundaroo Dr) — yeehaa ADSL 2 and download speeds of 1.6.
    5th Ngunnawal (2 weeks ago to hill behind the primary school) My god, crap. To start it took them 4 days from the phone being connected to getting ADSL1 on and download tests are showing 450k.

    For my two bobs worth (and this would be the same if I was still in Gungahlin with a reasonable connection) Ngunnawal is the worst suburb in Gungahlin.

    NBN, just get on with rolling out everywhere!!!

  14. Nick says:

    The map on the NBN website (, actually shows the “Gungahlin” upgrade extending over the Barton Highway and covering the entire Western Belconnen area from Holt to the northern tips of Gungahlin itself. This is either an error (as it would mean it is upgrading both the Gungahlin and Melba exchanges) or it is a wonderful wonderful thing, to those of us on the Melba exchange with Pair Gain system.

  15. alfiesaden says:

    hi there – is it just me !! can any one explain why when i type in the yahoo browser “” i get a different site yet whe i type it in google its ok? could this be a bug in my system or is any one else having same probs ?

  16. Garry says:

    HI Russell, I just wanted to let you know that your website shows up as Untrustworthy (All RED) in Web of Trust (WOT). Someone appears to want your site shut down.